Brand Fail: Movies on G4

Posted on July 16, 2009

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Last weekend I got a chance just to watch television. I prefer watching movies to daytime TV or sports, and G4 had a nice line-up. As I watched, I started thinking about how strange it was that G4 would show movies at all. As my critical faculties re-engaged, I became aware that the movies had inconsistent branding.

G4 launched in 2002 and aimed at male viewers 12-28. Granted, one of the early shows was CinemaTech, a showcase for high-end digital art that quickly came to include movies and TV, but the primary focus of the network was on video games with shows like Arena, Filter, Blister, Sweat, Cheat!, Portal, Pulse, Judgment Day (AKA Reviews on the Run), and G4TV.com. Over time, as management changes and mergers occurred, the channel shifted to programming that appealed to people immersed in video game culture (in other words, me and people like me), though they still show X-Play and Attack of the Show! So the fact that they show movies, and which movies they show, is part of that new programming direction. It even explains shows like Ninja Warrior, because there’s a significant overlap between Japanese otaku and American video gamers. Okay, I can accept that.

G4 brands the movies two ways. First, as “movies that don’t suck” and second as “movies that are plugged in.” While both things can be true simultaneously, it delivers an inconsistent brand message. I think they should settle on one message and stick to that.

I can’t help it. Even relaxing on my couch on a weekend, I’m still thinking about marketing and branding. Guess I’m just a geek!

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