By Sharon Donovan -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/20/2004 8:00:00 PM
President, programming and marketing
President and CEO
Senior vice president/creative director
Senior vice president, programming and scheduling
Oxygen Media doesn't look down on its viewers, but, when it planned new on-air promotion, it focused on their shoes. Women, as Carrie Bradshaw proved, have deep connections with what's on their feet.
Tagging interstitial spots with the simple Oxygen trademark expression "Oh!," the team developed 10 whimsical interstitials capturing women and their various shoe-aholic natures. Another 14 spots—zeroing in on other such other female-centric topics as bras, hats, mothers, and boyfriends—have been added to the lineup.
Not tied to any specific program, the campaign was launched to continue building the network's personality, demonstrate its connection to women, and make the network an indelible brand, says President of Programming and Marketing Debby Beece.
Beece (pronounced Bee-cee) is a major force behind Oxygen's marketing team, which includes Scott Webb, senior vice president and creative director, and Bridgitte McCray, senior vice president of programming and scheduling.
There aren't many surprises within this tightly knit group: Beece and Webb have worked with President and CEO Geraldine Laybourne for 25 and 23 years, respectively. McCray, with a scant five years in the ranks, is the newbie.
Much of their history together was created at Nickelodeon, and their impact in launching Oxygen continues to fuel a synergistic pod of creativity.
"I drool at the work they do," says Laybourne. "Debby spends time with the audience, going to three times the number of focus groups as anyone. She wants to know everything; she is a sponge for details of the competition, the culture, and media reports. She reads ratings, talks with sales people and affiliates, and absorbs data and feelings," Laybourne adds, ticking off the depths at which Beece mines for information on which to base her marketing decisions.
"Then, she takes a figurative shower [ridding herself of all the flotsam and jetsam of her extensive research] and goes with her gut."
Beece joined Oxygen after a 20-year tenure at Nickelodeon, where she became its president of movies and helped launch Nick-at-Nite and Ha! (which was later folded into Comedy Central).
Webb's skills complement Beece's. "He's inspired by ideas," Laybourne says, with a hint of incredulity in her voice as she recalls what might have seemed to some a nutty promotion focus: shoes. "Webb took the idea and ran with it, creating a memorable series of on-air promotions featuring women speaking confidentially and intimately about their shoe-gasms."
McCray is the essential "super glue" cementing all the elements. "Without her, we would be missing a link," Laybourne says. "She is the architect who makes sure everyone understands what we're trying to do, and she gets everyone rowing in the same direction."
As for Laybourne, she's a CEO who knows the importance of marketing:. "If you do it right," she says, "it's the ultimate compliment to your audience, because it means you know what they want."
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