Salem - Case study

While working on the rebrand of WGN America, I was heavily involved in the launch of their first original dramatic series, Salem. My involvement included managing the logo development process, the development of the on-air promotional look for the show, as well as being a significant part of the off-air creative development.

To be clear, launching a show like this is a group effort. Some aspects I was much more involved in than others. I have tried my best to assign proper credit to those parties involved. That said, a lot of my DNA is present in the creative I'm presenting.


Background

WGN America is a basic cable and satellite television channel - owned by Tribune Broadcasting and available in approximately 73,969,000 pay television households (64.77% of households with television) in the United States.

WGN America is in the process of transitioning from a channel based around syndicated programming, sports and news - into a showcase for original programming produced through our Tribune subsidiary, Tribune Studios. The first of these shows, an hour-long drama called Salem, aired in Spring of 2014.

Expectations going into the premiere of the show were modest. A "win" would have been 600,000 viewers. Our actual viewership exceeded those expectations considerably, with an estimated 2.3 million viewers.


Final Logo Animation

Starting with the end, this is where we ended up with the title design.


The Process

However, as is the case in projects like this, there were many, many iterations of design and animation and tests that came before the final version. I joined the project fairly late in development, and we still clocked at least 10 distinct approaches in the months leading up to the premiere. And in my opinion, some of the best work got left by the wayside.

In particular, the stellar work by Eric Diga and Jimmy Yeo needs to be praised.


The Product

Once we'd settled on a design, there were a million promotional elements that needed to be generated in the time leading up to air. As well as the weekly needs of keeping the buzz on the show. Here's a promo.


The Campaign


Teasers & Titles

We contracted Prologue films and Kyle Cooper to provide a teaser campaign and main titles for the show. This teaser was from a concept that Anibal Nuñez, the senior writer/producer of our internal team, came up with.

The main titles included original music by Marilyn Manson and Tyler Bates.


Out Of Home

A show like Salem needed far more than title design and promos to be a success. To that end, a significant out-of-home campaign was mounted. With large outdoor buys placed in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. While I consulted on this creative, the real heavy lifting was done by the Los Angeles Design Director, Dave Brown, and teams at Arsonal and Art Machine. Formatting, versioning, and pre-press were provided by Kelli Szluka.


Digital & Social

Launching a new show in the fractured media landscape of today is a multi-pronged effort. We employed every mode of brand extension at our disposal, including digital and social outreach. We also enlisted cast members to engage our audience directly.

We maintained extensive presence on YouTube, where we provided a large quantity of value-added content in the way of BTS clips, interviews, and alternate - targeted - promos.


In all, a full court press brought us the visibility we needed to further the aims of rebranding the network. It was a very positive start.