A new testimonial promo campaign from WTLV-WJXX in Jacksonville shows viewers there is hope when they have consumer problems.
Jacksonville consumers are discovering there is hope when they have problems. The answer: Ask Anthony.
That would be Anthony Austin, anchor and reporter for First Coast News, the brand name for Tegna’s NBC and ABC affiliates, WTLV and WJXX, in Jacksonville, Fla.
Austin has been at First Coast News for eight years, but about a year ago, he took over the consumer advocacy role, as it fit with the station’s brand, On Your Side, and its mission.
“We try to do stories that make an impact in the community,” Austin says.
And being an advocate for viewers also fits his own personal mission. “I got into this business because I truly wanted to help people,” he says. “That has always been my goal.”
Kristen Joyal, marketing director for First Coast News, says the idea for the Ask Anthony consumer franchise was Austin’s.
In Joyal’s opinion, she thought it was a fantastic idea. “It is the embodiment of our brand,” she says. And management was all in.
“This is going to help bolster our brand,” she says. “We are a station that is trying to secure first place and trying to do it in a way that is intentional, meaningful, impactful and memorable. We want to bring viewers journalism the way we were taught.”
Since the Ask Anthony franchise started in November of 2022, Austin says he’s done two stories a week that air during the 6 p.m. newscast he anchors.
Do the math. That’s about 100 stories, 100 different people, who Austin helped get their problems resolved.
And in addition to that, “there are stories I’ve done that have helped people that didn’t make it to television,” he says.
The stories that did make it on TV gave Joyal a rich and varied crop of Ask Anthony content to harvest for promoting the franchise.
That made the promo campaign for Ask Anthony obvious for Joyal.
“This is a 100% by these people who were helped by Anthony,” she says.
Joyal says the production took place at a local warehouse with just a few pieces of furniture in the scene.
Demetrius Kennon and Natalie Thurlow, First Coast News marketing producers, handled the photography, with Kennon doing the editing using Adobe Premier, Premier Pro and After Effects.
Kennon says he followed a template Thurlow had used in a testimonial campaign in the past.
“Picking the sound bites was what took the most time,” he says. “I love the Ask Anthony segments, the power of having someone on their side is really good.”
Joyal says she went to Austin to give him a heads up about the idea of doing testimonials featuring some of the people he’s helped.
“We want them to explain why it is that they called you and what it is that you did for them,” she told Austin.
She thought hearing them say all that in their own words would be powerful, the fact that he listens to them and gets results.
“All it takes is a dedicated individual to listen to people, hear their issues and do a little digging and then go to work,” she says. “This is old fashioned journalism at its heart. This is why we all got into the business.”
Austin says he usually gets results with one phone call.
“I tell them I am calling from First Coast News,” he says. Usually, the problem is resolved within 24 hours, “because no one wants bad publicity,” he says.
And there is no shortage of people with consumer problems.
“I get so many emails, phone calls and social media messages daily,” Ausin says. “We could put together a whole team who can just do these stories every single day.”
Joyal says Austin’s reporting on the problems in their community and finding solutions “gives everybody hope. And when you are watching a newscast, that is what you really love to see.”
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