Special Group tunes in to MediaWorks

Special Group has continued its hot run of form in 2010 by nabbing a slice of the MediaWorks TV business. And the first task has been to rebrand and relaunch the youth-focused music channel C4 and turn it into a slightly less youth focused mainstream entertainment channel called FOUR.

The size of the aforementioned slice is still slightly mysterious and at this stage, Special Group’s creative director Tony Bradbourne says the agency is just focusing on the FOUR rebrand and also working with the in-house creative team on the public relaunch (the changes have already been announced to the media, but it’s still operating as C4).

He wouldn’t confirm whether Special Group will take care of the TV3 side of things, but he did say there were some other projects on the horizon (and there’s also another separate, “exciting” account win that he wasn’t at liberty to discuss just yet). And he hopes there will be more work to come after they achieve their goal of developing a channel from scratch and making FOUR “the most talked about TV channel in the country”.

As for ideas on how the multi-disciplinary Special Groupies would achieve this, Bradbourne says it has to be “a myriad of different ways”. But to engage any viewer these days he says they need to be entertaining and rewarding.

Media accounts certainly offer plenty of artistic licence to ad agencies, so Bradbourne says it’s a great (and quite large) account to win. It’s also a highly competitive sector, but, like its work for the NAB, he says it’s “all about compelling content”.

Mediaworks TV director of marketing and communications Roger Beaumont says the “refreshing thing about working with Special Group is that “the shareholders of the business work on your business”.

“And I mean work. They don’t just show up at the first couple of meetings, they’re all in there boots ‘n all getting down into the dirty detail. With FOUR, they have demonstrated a great blend of creative and strategic thinking. On top of all that, they are down-to-earth, relatively modest, and just bloody all round nice guys. Yes, this is an agency I’m talking about.”

MediaWorks has been flying without an agency since last year after Colenso was dropped from the roster after 20 years together. This was supposedly because of sister agency AIM Proximity’s dalliances with TVNZ. But at the time Beaumont labelled it part of a “fresh strategy” which meant instead of using an agency, it was all about using the in-house creative resources and, if required, a pool of freelancers.

Since then, a couple of high-profile promotions have come under fire for perceived plagiarism and some commentators thought they provided more than enough evidence to suggest it was about time an agency was brought on board (although whether agencies are any less prone to a bad case of ‘the inspirations’ is debatable).

MediaWorks TV’s chief executive Jason Paris (check him out on Media7 discussing the demographic changes and the effects of the recession here) announced the network’s intention to go head to head with TV2 and ONE a couple of weeks ago (TV3 will be repositioned to a slightly older and broader audience over time). That seemed like a smart decision, because that’s where the money is. And, if the growing list of awards and clients are anything to go by, so, it would seem, is choosing Special Group.

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