By Anna Sekula Posted April 30, 2012, 2:47 PM EDT
NEW YORK In a bid to build their brands, NBC Universal's younger, more ambitious properties crafted immersive, somewhat unconventional settings for their respective upfront presentations last week. Syfy took over the American Museum of Natural History on Tuesday night to promote the concept of its audience as “Igniters” with chef Marcus Samuelsson, DJ Spooky, and Sir Richard Branson. The following evening, Oxygen hit up the Penthouse at Dream, bringing DJ Cassidy, its “Live Out Loud” tagline, and a slate of programming that targets what it calls “Generation O” to the west Chelsea space.
To give these ideas more weight, the two networks employed some creative visuals. Syfy's production, headed up by LeadDog Marketing Group, redesigned the Upper West Side institution in a more modern light, with the brand's signature purple used to illuminate various rooms, letters from its logo turned into sculptural pieces, and hors d'oeuvres served via chutes. The setting was intended to allow the attendees to live like an “igniter,” a notion expressed in the cable network's new ad campaign.
“Syfy’s upfront celebrates the power of igniters, our influential audience who has the highly coveted ability to move brands forward faster,” said Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe. The outing also saw a performance by Young the Giant, Branson awarding a guest an around-the-world trip on Virgin Atlantic, and a post-presentation reception in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life with tunes spun by DJ Spooky.
Shiraz Events helped produce Oxygen's effort, which was focused on its core consumer segment of women 25 to 34 years old, referred to as “Generation O.” This entailed creating a colorful environment—largely filled with the channel's circular yellow logo—hiring plenty of energetic female staffers, and providing opportunities for attendees to interact on social networks.
Balloons, decals, and paper lanterns gave the nightclub atop the the Dream Downtown hotel a youthful look. The centerpiece was the stage, topped by a 25-foot-wide, 14-foot-tall yellow arch embedded with marquee lights. Adjacent screens mixed Twitter posts, photos taken with Wi-Fi cameras and MVS Studio's photo booth, and, during the presentation, sizzle reels for shows. And rather than offering a lengthy show and tell with execs, cast from shows like Girlfriend Confidential LA's and The Next Big Thing: NY introduced their programs, while DJ Cassidy served as the emcee. Performances also took to the stage, with dancing from the cast of All the Right Moves and musical numbers by finalists of The Glee Project.