MBPT Spotlight: ‘One Solution’ Quietly Integrating Major Brands Into TV One, Radio One and Interactive One

Recently, many television networks have aggressively touted brand integrations and cross-platform opportunities to marketers and publicly promoted the deals they’ve done to the ad industry. TV One, the cable network targeting black viewers that will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month, has been more low-key but equally successful in forging integration and cross-platform deals with major marketers with the One Solution plan, which was launched in 2008 by TV One’s coparent Radio One.

Under the direction of Peggy Byrd, senior VP of integrated marketing at One Solution, which allows marketers to integrate their brands across TV One, Radio One and Interactive One, deals have been done with major advertisers such as Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Ford, Chevrolet and McDonald’s. Byrd says at any one time, 10 to 15 advertisers can be involved in One Solution marketing projects.

Without specifying the ad dollars One Solution brings in each year, Byrd says ad revenue generated by the cross-platform sales unit has grown around 300% since its initiation five years ago.

While much media coverage has been focused on the growing buying power of the Hispanic consumer, Byrd points to the value of targeting black consumers who spend more than $1 trillion in the marketplace each year. And she says that advertising on black media outlets to reach black consumers offers marketers more credibility within that audience segment.

African-Americans watch more television than any of the other ethnic groups, she says, and advertising through black television and radio enables marketers to get a stronger response from viewers and listeners.

“Advertisers can reach more eyeballs on general market broadcast and cable,” she says, “but they can’t make a strong connection with black consumers through those mediums.

“Black viewers are more attentive to commercials on black-oriented TV networks and they trust black media twice as much as general market media. And they are more responsive to sponsors they see in black media. They also trust black celebrities endorsing products when making their purchasing decisions.

“General market television networks may reach a larger audience, but TV One touches our audience in a more significant way,” Byrd says.

Much like the competition between Hispanic TV networks Univision and Telemundo, though TV One competes with BET for viewers and ad dollars, it also sees BET as an ally in selling the attributes of black TV audiences to advertisers and helping convince marketers to spend more dollars on black-oriented TV overall.

“BET is a competitor because we are selling the same audience to advertisers, but there is also a camaraderie for sure,” Byrd says. “We are both members of the Black Consortium (#IntheBlack) that highlights the power of the black consumer and the strength of black media to advertisers. When we sell our advertising, we articulate the differences in our programming and demographics and don’t get negative about BET.”

Byrd says the BET audience is younger than TV One’s, with TV One targeting audiences in their 40s.

Byrd left her post as associate publisher, marketing for Condé Nast Bridal Media in 2008 to oversee TV One’s One Solution program. She and her staff work with marketers to devise brand integrations that can run across all TV One platforms. TV One reaches about 57 million homes, Radio One reaches about 82% of U.S. African-American adults through 54 radio stations in 16 markets, and Interactive One’s targeted websites reach more than five million black consumers a month.

And marketers have been responding. Wal-Mart has a formalized partnership with One Solution that is entering its second year. Most recently, One Solution, in conjunction with Wal-Mart, conducted a Fill the Truck campaign in which toys for needy kids were collected at a local Wal-Mart store in Raleigh, N.C. Chanté Moore, a cast member from TV One reality series R&B Divas, appeared at the store during the drive and participated in interviews on Radio One’s three Raleigh market radio stations to promote the event. On Nov. 30, during TV One’s airing of the two-hour, music, dance and comedy showcase One Christmas, vignettes were shown highlighting Wal-Mart's participation in the toy drive. Wal-Mart also ran traditional 30-second commercials in the telecast.

“That’s just one example of taking our TV, radio and talent assets and putting them together to create a crescendo event for a client,” Byrd says.

TV One also televised a made-for-TV movie along with Radio One host Russ Parr titled Christmas Blessing that aired on Dec. 7.  The movie, which contained scenes that were shot in a Wal-Mart store in Atlanta, also integrated an actual Wal-Mart commercial, part of its “Welcome Home” hiring of veterans campaign, onto the TV screen that the family in the movie was watching. Wal-Mart also ran traditional 30-second spots during the movie’s commercial breaks.

Angie Stone, a cast member of TV One’s R&B Divas: Atlanta, also appears in some webisodes in which she talks about beauty products sold at Wal-Mart.

One Solution has also done some custom work with Johnson & Johnson, including creating informational vignettes about J&J products for women that have appeared both on TV One and online.

One Solution also works with marketers to involve them in sponsorships with Interactive One’s HelloBeautiful Interludes or concert series. HelloBeautiful.com is an Interactive One website targeting black women that puts together private concert performances, which are taped and later streamed online and aired on TV One. One Solution sells sponsorships for the concerts and advertising for the telecasts.

Most recent Interlude events include a performance by John Legend in September, which was sponsored by Chevrolet, and a performance by Toni Braxton and Babyface in November, which was sponsored by McDonald’s and Dr. Miracle’s.

Byrd says the Interlude program is becoming so popular for both recording artists and marketers that One Solution is receiving requests from artists to perform and from marketers to sponsor, rather than having to go out and solicit.

One Solution also developed and produced a financial show, sponsored by Wells Fargo, for TV One that includes a panel of experts answering questions posed by viewers.  It also partnered with Coca-Cola on a mentoring initiative where successful black professionals from assorted career fields provided advice and guidance for young people.

At the same time, TV One is continuing to expand its original programming, both in the reality genre and scripted programming. And just recently, TV One added a news talk hour hosted by Roland Martin.

Byrd says going forward the TV network’s investment in original programming will allow it to do even more custom integrations.