FX Plans Takes Branding Campaign Out Of The Box

New York -- FX is launching its first branding campaign, with the tagline “There is No Box,” with a multimillion dollar flight of TV ads that includes a spot that will follow next year’s Super Bowl, officials said Tuesday.

“This is a first for us, actually starting to market our network,” FX Networks president and general manager John Landgraf said at a press conference at the Manhattan headquarters of News Corp., which owns the cable network.

FX has always aggressively promoted its individual shows, like The Shield, but never the network itself. The campaign is targeting the roughly 50% of adults who aren’t very familiar with the network, according to Landgraf.

The branding campaign kicks off next week during an episode of Nip/Tuck, but FX has also purchased a 60-second spot that will air directly after Fox broadcast network’s telecast of Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3.

The FX spot has the so-called “post-gun position,” between the game’s end and the start of post-game analysis. Over the past three years, commercials in that positioned have averaged a 35.6 rating, or some 80 million viewers, according to FX officials.

The FX commercials will also air on all News Corp. TV services, not only the Fox broadcast network but also the media giant’s national cable and regional sports networks, as well as the company’s online properties such as Myspace.com, according to Landgraf.

“News Corp. is really going to get behind it,” he said. “And News Corp. when it gets behind something, can put a lot of muscle behind it.”

The network described the campaign as a multimillion effort, with Landgraf saying it will amount to tens of millions of dollars.

The slogan “There is No Box” refers to the unwillingness of creative talent to work within traditional formulas, as well as how all of FX’s “cliché-busting” shows defy the usual genres of TV series such as cop shows, sitcoms, rescue shows, and medical and legal dramas, Landgraf said.

“Truly creative people refuse to be constrained, when you try to put them in a box, they simply refuse to go into that box,” Landgraf said.

Talent and executives from several of FX’s signature, ground-breaking scripted series were also at the press conference, including Michael Chiklis, star and producer of The Shield; Denis Leary, star, creator and executive producer of Rescue Me; and Jim Serpico, executive producer of RescueMe.

The Shield really I think sparked a renaissance in advertiser-supported television for basic cable as well as really for broadcast,” Landgraf said.

FX believes that about 50% of adults 18 to 49 “really don’t know the network, don’t associate The Shield or Rescue Me with FX,” Landgraf said.

“It takes a long time in a very large country with a lot of channels for a channel’s identity to penetrate the consciousness of everybody in America,” he said.

The campaign includes three main 60-second spots and individual 30-second spots for each of FX’s eight series. The long-term campaign will eventually include print and other paid media, according to Landgraf.