The Fred/Alan Archive (The naming of Comedy Central.)

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  • The naming of Comedy Central.

    Positioning Comedy Central (neé CTV: Comedy Television) 

    HA! didn’t work for MTV Networks (even with the super duper amazing work we did for them). The Comedy Channel didn’t work for HBO. So they merged in CTV: Comedy Television. Obviously, management didn’t have much of an imagination.

    HBO insisted that their guy be in charge. And after a decade of success together, MTV Networks insisted that Fred/Alan do the positioning and branding.

    I’ve always been obsessed with the way that Motown Records grew from a ghetto Detroit neighborhood by nurturing local talent in their rooming house-turned-soul-hothouse with all the means of production and distribution under one roof (it’s been the way that I’ve nurtured talent in all my businesses), and I thought that CTV should be the same hothouse for comedy. It was a natural. A 24 hour comedy network in the heart of New York City.

    Fred/Alan creative director Bill Burnett was the perfect writer to lay out the dream, and completely nailed it. A rock'n'roller turned writer, he was the same age as Alan and me, incubated during the cultural revolution of pop that the Beatles ushered in and Motown thrived in. Based on the form that Alan developed over the years, starting with MTV in 1987, Bill would understand the idea and make it come alive.

    Bill’s brand positioning document above put it right out there. But, as you read it you’ll notice he created the notion of setting up a COMEDY CENTRAL to do the talent cultivation keeps coming up over and over again.

    CTV management bought the positioning, but more pertinently, they changed the name of the company. They never followed through on almost any of our ideas, but we renamed the network. And after all our successes over the years in developing channel trademarks, the marketing director wanted the glory for himself and ended up with the piece of junk (one man’s opinion, of course) globe they used for 20 years.

    Ah well, you can only win some of them.



    Comedy Central (aka CTV) Brand Positioning 
    Writerdf/creative director: Bill Burnett
    Executive creative directors: Fred Seibert & Alan Goodman
    Fred/Alan, Inc., New York

    0 comments    Tagged: positioning, branding, Comedy Central, marketing, 1991,.

Alan Goodman
& Fred Seibert
open America's first media branding agency, with production and consulting capabilities, in New York City.

Expanded our capabilites and opened America’s first advertising agency specializing in people under 35. Nominations and wins of every creative advertising award.

Fred/Alan opens
Chauncey Street Productions with producer Albie Hecht.

Fred/Alan Closes.

The Fred/Alan Archive is updated sporadically. It's mostly written by Fred Seibert, unless otherwise noted. Please blame him for all inaccuracies or embarrassments.

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