After an intensive pitch involving the nation’s top broadcast design companies, Troika Design Group was awarded the high-profile assignment of creating the visual brand for The CW Television Network (The CW). In preparation for the nationwide launch this September 2006, Troika worked closely with network executives to design The CW’s logo and on- and off-air identity. Troika also produced a tease campaign that broke July 10th that gives viewers a first-look at the coming-together of shows from The WB and UPN into one new network, The CW.
Said Rick Haskins, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Brand Strategy for The CW Television Network, “Troika has proven to be a great partner that has provided insightful creative strategy throughout our launch. And while the company understands the intricacies of branding a major network and has the talent and infrastructure to support it, it also has its finger on the pulse of youth culture. Troika spoke our demographic’s language right off the bat, and gave The CW a look that is unlike anything you see on primetime TV. We were blown away by Troika’s professionalism and creativity from the very beginning during the pitch phase, and continue to be impressed with what they deliver.”
A Unique Demographic, A Unique Look
The CW branding assignment presented Troika with the opportunity to launch the first primetime network in 10 years from the ground up. The goal was to develop a look that was in-sync with the sensibilities of The CW’s core audience-young, hip, urban viewers from UPN, and Gen Y suburbanites from The WB. It was also necessary that The CW be perceived like a lifestyle or consumer brand. The CW had to be relatable, with a personality that was big enough to live in the public consciousness beyond the TV screen.
Troika achieved this by designing an on- and off-air identity that was positive, empowering and casual. The design is dominated by refreshing green hues, friendly curves, iconic symbols and natural surfaces, while graphical illustrations, such as abstract thumbprints, reinforce that the network, like its audience, is unique. Line animations that originate from-and lead to-The CW logo provide a consistent motif that connects show footage, talent footage and tune-in information back to The CW.
Creating the Tagline, Logo and Summer Tease Campaign
Troika also coined The CW’s mantra, “Free to Be (fill in the blank)”. This adaptable tagline can be modified a myriad of ways, such as “Free to Be Real,” “Free to Be Different” and “Free to Be Together”. This statement simultaneously celebrates the audience’s diversity and the diversity of the network’s programming while functioning as an aspirational statement for viewers who want to reclaim their independence and individuality from impersonal, made-for-everyone TV.
The CW logo that debuted at the Upfronts in May features the curved conjoined letters of C and W-which reinforces the network’s brand message of bringing viewers together-and was designed specifically to be conducive to animation and motion. Troika also provided the 200-plus network affiliates with a toolkit of logo systems that can be customizable with local channel numbers or city names to ensure brand consistency across the networks.
To build buzz for The CW, Troika delivered two phases of teases that aired on The WB and UPN networks this summer. The first round aired in June and featured music from the Black Eyed Peas, who perform the official CW launch song, “Get Ready.” This was also the public’s first introduction to The CW’s logo, aesthetic, and tagline. A second round of teases broke July 10th featuring stars from the network’s shows, Smallville, America’s Next Top Model, Gilmore Girls, and Everybody Hates Chris.
Said Dan Pappalardo, Partner and Executive Creative Director, Troika Design Group, “Getting the chance to create what is both an iconic television brand and a lifestyle brand was an exciting opportunity for us. We have enjoyed seeing our design motifs on air and echoed in print and outdoor campaigns-and very much look forward to seeing the debut of all the final broadcast elements when The CW launches this fall.”
The CW Television Network is set to launch September 20th, and will feature a mixture of programming from UPN and The WB television networks, which both cease operations in September. The network is a joint venture between CBS Corporation, owner of UPN, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, majority owner of The WB.
About Troika Design Group
Troika is an award-winning design company known for producing memorable visual brand identities. Based in Hollywood, Troika combines a unique hybrid of skills with a team of more than 20 designers, producers, animators, editors and conceptual thinkers who specialize in network branding, promotional and advertising campaigns, and show packaging. Founded in 2001 by industry leaders Dan Pappalardo, Mark Bohman and Chuck Carey, Troika is one of the premier providers of strategic design and creative production for television. The company’s approach to design is clever, thoughtful and focused, delivering standout concepts while remaining faithful to a client’s brand ideals. Troika has worked closely with top television and cable networks including The CW, FOX, ESPN, HGTV, E! Entertainment, Animal Planet, Food Network, ABC, UPN, Comedy Central, Fine Living, VH1, TV Guide Channel and Great American Country. For more information, please visit www.troika.tv or call Robert Blatchford at 323.965.1650.