UpTV is all about clear communication. Its name reflects the network’s mission to provide viewers with uplifting entertainment, and its new tagline, “We Get Family,” hones that mission to an even finer point.
“Charley Humbard, our [president and] CEO, held multiple discussions about what our tag line was going to be,” says Amy Winter, UpTV’s GM/EVP. “He would always challenge me and say, ‘What do you want people to take away?’ And I said, ‘That we get family. We get it. We know what you’re going through.”
While a few people in her office doubted the tag line would appeal to people who weren’t married or didn’t have kids, the doubts dissipated upon learning UpTV’s definition of family means more than just Mom, Dad, two-point-five kids and a dog.
“We have to do this exactly right, otherwise people immediately go to whether or not you have kids—and this is so much broader than that,” she says, noting there are many types of families showcased on UpTV.
Specific programming acquisitions, such as Universal Television’s Parenthood, along with original series such as Bringing Up Bates and Growing Up McGhee, were key to fostering that type of inclusion.
“We didn’t commit to We Get Family lightly, and we’re being really mindful of how we program to it,” Winter says. “If people buy into this brand and say, ‘This works for me, I love this, I’m going to come here,’ than this collection should really speak to them, because across the board we’re picking programming that hits that bull’s-eye.”
The network, which was already airing Supernanny repeats, even commissioned a new series with Supernanny star Jo Frost, called Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour.
“We started to add shows we knew would really resonate with the audience we’d identified—which is about 42 million people looking for shows with family in mind,” Winter says. America’s Funniest Home Videos and Gilmore Girls were added to the lineup, and Parenthood debuted on Memorial Day.
While other family-focused cable networks might target children, kids, or teens, she says, “We’re searching for the audience that is not necessarily a specific age, but at the life stage where you go from ‘me’ to ‘we.’”
A main objective of the rebrand is to grow the UpTV audience. Another is to generate awareness for the network and its offerings.
While the rebrand culminates with a Memorial Day Block Party and the May 30 debut of Parenthood, it’s actually been 18 months in the making.
“We looked at the timing of where we could lay Parenthood in, and really build to that moment,” she says. “And the following Thursday is the launch of Bates, and the Wednesday after that will be McGhee. We really do summer in a big way, and at Up we know we compete really well during that timeframe, so all of our new content is lining up for a Memorial Day push.”
According to Winter, the median age of UpTV’s audience dropped 10 years, year over year, since last April. She attributes the dramatic change to the fact that the network began shifting programming before the rebrand rolled out.
On-air spots include brand moments built around snippets from some of their shows that highlight UpTV’s concept of family. Paid digital placements are planned. And an off-air campaign has been running in 79 of Comcast’s local cable markets. But perhaps the biggest push has been made via the social media and digital spaces, including a revamp of UpTV’s website.
However, the network’s social media efforts are a bit more hands-off than one might expect.
“Up definitely has a presence out there, but we’re very mindful that our viewers adore the relationship they have with the actual family members from our shows,” Winter says.
A stronger connection with viewers is through social media and digital platforms by allowing viewers to have conversations with others going through the same kinds of experiences, even if the network itself is not directly involved.
“We find that the conversations they’re able to have in the social space really takes the leads at times. Who better to give you parenting advice than a mom who has sextuplets or who’s had 19 kids?”
Winter loves the clarity and simplicity of the brand promise and tag line.
“It’s intentional because we’re trying to let the programming do the talking,” she says. “These spots are so simple, and they resonate. They allow the shows to be the center of the attention. That’s deliberate on our part, and I’m really proud of that.”