Rick Lewchuk, former SVP of creative marketing and brand standards for CNN Worldwide, has started his own marketing company, Film At 11. Lewchuk thinks his experience can help local TV news broadcasters.
Film at 11 is an idiom familiar to TV people of a certain age.
It entered the lingo back in the 1970s when TV stations were promoting their 11 0’clock newscasts every night. The phrase was a promise that the film (16mm usually) of a news event shot in the field would be processed and edited in time for the 11 o’clock news.
It’s a phrase exclusively associated with local TV news.
“For someone of my vintage, I understand what that means,” says Rick Lewchuk, former SVP of creative marketing and brand standards for CNN Worldwide, who this month started his own marketing company, Film At 11.
“I wanted to go back to the roots of television promotion,” Lewchuk says. “I think we need to do much more of that.”
Lewchuk spent more than 10 years in his role at CNN. During that time, his team won the Promax Global Marketing Team of the Year six times in a row.
Note: Lewchuk says this is probably one on his favorite spots produced during his time at CNN and is probably relatable for local news creatives. This spot won an Emmy .
Prior to CNN, Lewchuk was VP of creative and branding for Bell Media, Canada’s leading content creation company with assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media.
NOTE: From his work in Canada, the promos done for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver were his favorite. Lewchuk says this campaign, Believe, won 65 Promax awards.
“There isn’t a big difference in how local news is set up in Canada compared to the U.S. and it is very comparable,” Lewchuk says.
Lewchuk thinks his experience can help local TV news broadcasters. “I watch a lot of local news and it really is where my passion is because that’s where I began,” he says. “I am looking to give back.”
Lewchuk says when he’s on the road, he watches local TV promos and it gives him a good perspective of their marketing.
“I sometimes watch the promos and go, who is this directed to?”
That would be the first question he’d ask the station’s general manager, Lewchuk says. “Do you know who you’re marketing to? Who are your promos being done for?”
Lewchuk says a lot of the time, everybody in the market is promoting the same thing in the same way.
“There is a big difference in how you promote if you are the No. 1 news channel in the market and how you promote if you are No. 2 or No. 3 and vastly different if you are 4 or 5,” he says.
Lewchuk says at CNN, “90% of what we did, even if it was promotion for a show, was not about tune-in and getting people to watch the show, but about the image.”
Lewchuk doesn’t see that done enough in local news.
“You need to build that muscle memory of who the important news station in the local market is so when something does happen and people do want to seek out local news, they have that memory of where they should be tuning to do that,” Lewchuk says.
What Lewchuk can offer TV stations is the ability to “parachute into places that need help. You just don’t have enough time for the VP of marketing on a national basis to do it.”
Every market has a different competitive situation, Lewchuk says. “There isn’t a template that you can put in place and say this is going to work.”
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