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Brand X: Air Supply

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BRAND: Oxygen
CAMPAIGN: Great Reasons
AGENCY: Mullen
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Edward Boches

NO BACK HAIR. Hey, now there's a campaign issue we can all rally round. The race? TV-programming visionary Geraldine Laybourne's bid to trounce the likes of Lifetime and iVillage.com with Oxygen, her new cable/Web network for women. Her campaign team: red-hot Boston-based Mullen, which is building an online banner-ad and outdoor campaign around the tag line ANOTHER GREAT REASON TO BE A WOMAN. Writ large -- really large -- on the sides of buildings in New York and other major media markets, the "hair" line stops you in your tracks. (Other campaign punch lines -- FIRST ON THE LIFEBOATS and BABY'S FIRST WORD: MAMA -- are cute but lack the extra frisson supplied by the gross-out factor.) The campaign conveys not a damn thing about Oxygen's content, but that's fine; Laybourne and company are doing what they need to do -- building a brand personality, and fast, by distancing the network from its humorless competition. Lifetime can have its Prozac-pastel graphics, and iVillage.com can keep its brand-new batch of disappointingly old-school "testimonial" TV spots (delivered, appallingly enough, by actresses); Oxygen, the Mullen campaign hints, has edge. And if you have to come out against something before your first show hits the airwaves, why not earnestness -- and furry flanks?


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