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Viacom Ads Party On

It’s been one of those years for Viacom, so when the time came for an upfront trade campaign, it was time to throw a party.

The house party theme in Viacom’s ads “brings to life the fans’ connection with the talent and the brands that people are passionate about, and puts our advertising partners in the middle of that,” said Cheryl Family, senior VP, brand strategy and creative at Viacom Catalyst.

Catalyst put together a video and a series of print ads showing franchises and stars from the company’s key brands partying with fans.

Under the theme “For All Fankind,” the campaign emphasizes how Viacom’s brands emotionally connect with fans, how fans hang out with Viacom longer and are the most engaged. It also touts Viacom’s reach among millennials, something that’s particularly attractive to advertisers, Family said.

The key image of the campaign is crowd surfing, “which really shows the mutually beneficial relationship we have with our fans. They adore this talent and these brands so much that they’re actually propelling them forward,” she said.

Trevor Noah of Comedy Central’s Daily Show shot his scenes on his birthday. “When Trevor got to crowd surf, he was really into it,” Family says.

Viacom hired music video director Hannah Lux Davis and photographer Kareem Black for the campaign to bring authenticity and make the talent comfortable.

Other stars featured in the campaign include the MTV Moonman, BET’s Jidenna and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants.

Viacom has collected the video spots on a new website,, where advertisers are invited to “let our data-driven audience insights, branded content and multiplatform distribution strategies help you unlock the power of our young, diverse fans wherever they are,” Family said.

Because the campaign features such big names, Viacom will be able to roll it out in individual international markets, as well as in the U.S., Family said.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.