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Saturday, December 13, 2008

The retro strategy and how it failed...



This is the symbolic sequel to one of my most popular posts of 2008, Bringing Back Love You Brisbane, but it starts in a strange place, aggregated regional Queensland, in 1995.

Part 1-Queensland's first taste of networking.

1995, was a funny old year for Queensland TV, Bruce Paige returned to QTQ, Brisbane launched it's own Footy Show, QTV became Ten Queensland, and the shock of the decade as the metro 7 network bought affiliate Sunshine Television and rebranded it as 7 Queensland, in the process dropping Sunshine's successful "Love You Queensland" campaign, in favor of networked promos, and the news service became Seven Local News.

By 1998, a networked 7 Queensland was winning ratings wars against the dogs that Sunshine sat and watch fight in 1991, WIN and Ten Queensland contridicting the network's (then) 2nd status nationwide.

Part 2-Seven's retro strategy...

Meanwhile the same, couldn't be said for 7 in Brisbane. After a rough five year patch, since veteran newsreader Frank Warrick left in 2001, Seven News and the station were rating 2nd, to a station that had ursurped the local leadership, QTQ-9. Nine had local programming, weekdays in the form of Extra hosted by a trusted personality, Rick Burnett, the Gold Coast News (which screened in lieu of Extra on the Gold Coast) with former Brisbane Ten newsreader, Rob Readings and the 6pm news with Bruce Paige, Heather Foord and long time weatherman John Schluter. But within three months in 2006, the fortress had fallen. The GC news was moved to Brisbane in July, Extra lost Rick in August, and for unknown reasons John left in September.

Seven snapped up Schluter, and relaunched on Boxing Day the Sunshine Television theme "Love You Queensland" statewide, thats right statewide.

Part 3-Tonight on Seven News Flashback...

The Love You Queensland revival was the cornerstone, Sharyn Ghidella's arrival was the bricks and mortar. Seven also discovered that John and the recently launched "Seven News Flashback" segment fit like a hand in a custom built glove, and before long John was back on weekdays this time against Paige. Eventually, 7's news ratings were beating 9's without Deal providing a good lead in. Seven easily won 2007, thanks to their new recruits in the newsroom, as well as the lack of response by QTQ on "Love You Queensland". But that was about to dramaticly change.

Part 4-You better smile!

2007 ended with 7 producing small ID's for Xmas, while 9 did a neat local 30 sec effort, which was a precurser to the start of 2008, where 9 debuted their wehearttv campaign, with at first a localised version only featuring Nine News. But it grew steadily, eventually with most of QTQ's personalities, featuring in a 60 second promo, which was nearly 100% Queensland. But on June 2 2008, a dramatic change happened, which would redefine "local promotion" in the 21st century.

Part 5-"Queensland, it's a part of me, sunshine in the heart of me, Channel Nine... Nine For Queensland"

Gone were the glass hearts, grass hearts, bark hearts that symbolised the wehearttv campaign, instead there was a focus on the dots, the station's upcoming 50th birthday, and lots and lots of maroon. It was more upbeat, had a "vibe" to it, reminicent of the "Still The One" era. Personalities littered the promo, some in complete 360's of the 2008 launch, like Bruce Paige, he went from outside a house to playing with his dog and running along the Brisbane River. This promo represented Brisbane better, than the regionally skewed 7 promo, thanks to the evolution of the campaign throughout the latter half of 2008, from 60 second ID's to supplanting wehearttv in SEQ.

Part 6-A LYB return?

Seven in Brisbane needs a major recovery. It's news is still #1, but lost 2008 (if the Beijing Olympics aren't counted) to 9. Love You Queensland, the GOTTALOVEIT tagline, even the "TV man" that 7 uses aren't going to stage a shock revival. But giving viewers what they want could be a good start, for 2009 is also Queensland television's 50th year... and they are expecting a nostalgia overload from Brisbane's commercial stations. The biggest present any Brisbane viewer wants is the proper revival of Love You Brisbane. It has to be remembered in twenty five years... when this generation is all grown up with kids, to a newer, bigger, brighter Brisbane.

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