As Colin Peacock noted in MediaWatch this week, as two X Factor judges were sent packing for bullying and lambasted for having an over-inflated opinion of themselves, a man who has "built his reputation on his ego and on picking on people poorly equipped to defend themselves on air" is getting set to kick off his experimental, multi-media breakfast news show on April 7. And MediaWorks has launched the last phase of its marketing push to get New Zealanders to tune in.
Earlier in the year, Henry was been represented as a spacesuit-wearing, maniacally cackling and extremely modest vision of the future of media who comes down from the firmament to talk a couple of normals about how boring traditional breakfast news shows are. And he's obviously been relishing the opportunity to let everyone know that he will soon be everywhere (or at least on Radio Live, on TV3 and online on paulhenry.co.nz).
All key cast members have now been announced and a new promo campaign shows Henry sourcing his team—and then interrupting them—with Hilary Barry, Perlina Lau and Jim Kayes all featuring (George FM's Gracie Taylor has also been appointed as a digital producer). Slightly surprisingly, the new ad shows the proud luddite and social media naysayer using a smartphone and social media (with a knowing look). But despite his aversion to technology, MediaWorks claims the new show has certainly benefitted from its social media profile, from his initial reluctant hunt to find a social media star for the show, through to his announcement of the show's launch to social fans ahead of an official press announcement (he berated some of them by name for moaning about the length of his holiday), through to a behind the scenes video released from the launch promos.
MediaWorks' TV's Amanda Wilson and MediaWorks' Radio's Katie Mills say the TV and radio campaign for Paul Henry has certainly stood out from usual promotional material for the breakfast timeslot (it is also running Adshels and digital billboards).
"We certainly looked at how our competitors were promoting their morning offerings and wanted to do something a bit more exciting. And cut through has been good."
As well as the comms, which have been created in-house, Henry has been around the country meeting members of the public and key trade contacts, with a number of photos posted via social media to support the #paulhenryeverywhere hashtag.
Group head of communications Rachel Lorimer says the ratings expectations for the new three-hour breakfast show will start off small but it expects to build the audience over time.
"You wouldn't expect X Factor-style launch ratings. Also, in terms of logistics, we will get the TV and digital audience numbers the next morning, but radio listenership won't be immediately measured, so we will have to wait a while for the full picture."
This new media mongrel is a big roll of the dice for MediaWorks. But integration seems to be the way of the future, as evidenced by recent changes to the company's sales structure (and changes to the Radio Bureau). And Paul Henry, as chief executive Mark Weldon believes, is one of the only broadcasters who can pull it off.
Creative Director: Ant Farac
Art Director: Juita Tambunan
Directors: Kirrily Denny & Simon Lambert
Assistant Director: Jen Butcher
Producer: Rob Brown
DOP: Ryan Heron
Graphic Design/Visual Effects: Beryl
Head of Marketing & Publicity – TV: Amanda Wilson
Group Head of Marketing – Radio: Katie Mills
Marketing Executive: Will Seal