TNT’s Edgy Brand Makeover and New “Boom” Tagline

TNT’s brand makeover began with two wildly successful guerilla-marketing stunts in 2012 and 2013 titled “A dramatic surprise on a quiet square,” and “A dramatic surprise on an ice-cold day” following a year later. Both ads featured pedestrians stumbling upon a large red button with a sign pointing to it that read, “Push to add Drama.” In “A dramatic surprise on a quiet square,” those who were brave enough to press the button were exposed to an elaborate live sequence of car crashes, fights, police shoot outs, heroic football players, and a girl in a bikini riding a motorcycle.

The ad gathered over 10 million YouTube views and 1 million Facebook shares in less than 24 hours, and now has more than 50 million views on YouTube. Although the sequel did not generate as much outstanding popularity as the original, it has still had a very positive reception. In the first 24 hours from posting the follow up ad online, it was viewed more than 250,000 times and to date, it has attracted more than 14 million views on YouTube.In addition to its viral marketing success in recent years, the cable network changed its signature “We Know Drama” tagline in 2001 and shortened it to Drama in 2008. Now, it is expanding it to “TNT Drama. Boom.” The brand update reflects TNT’s new direction, with more action-adventure, sci-fi fantasy, and mystery-suspense series alongside crime dramas, or as TNT programming chief Michael Wright put it, more “drama that thrills.”

“It’s time to evolve and grow TNT,” said Wright, head of programming for TNT along with TBS and Turner Classic Movies, part of Time Warner’s Turner unit.

This new tagline is designed to represent that moment in all great dramas when the story takes an unexpected turn. It’s the “aha” moment, the surprise, or the climax. Wright said the company took some lessons from 2013. “Don’t be safe,” he said. “You want to make thrilling drama? You need to take big, creative swings.”

Aside from aiming for a younger audience, he said TNT was hoping for a more even split of male and female viewers.

Wright said the network can’t rely on reruns to increase ratings. “The days of ‘Law and Order’ getting TNT to number one are long gone and I don’t think they are coming back,” he said, noting the focus needs to be on developing more original hits.

In a highlight reel to unveil the new branding, actors from TNT’s shows took turns saying “Boom” as clips were shown of explosions, knives being wielded, and punches being thrown. Wright said the goal is a change “in look, tone and the content behind it.”

Amid growing interest among advertisers in online video, Turner ad sales head Frank Sgrizzi stated, “We want to combine the advantages of TV with the many opportunities of digital.”

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