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Oxygen Tries New Colors

6/13/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

Oxygen will try to “break out of the pink pastel ghetto” with a brand refreshening, including a revised logo and multiplatform outreach efforts designed to attract what its executives call “Generation O.”

Jason Klarman, general manager of the network, now part of the NBC Universal family of cable networks, describes the woman-geared network's target audience as “trenders, spenders and recommenders.”

According to focus groups and Nielsen Media Research data used to determine the network's key demographics and psychographics, these viewers follow trends closely; like to spend on versions of luxury items they see worn or used by celebrities; and are influential, in that they're sought out by friends for style advice.

Oxygen is expanding on its “Living Out Loud” tagline to attract this audience. The tagline and a more contemporary on-air color palette, as well as the launch of a mobile-content component, is timed to coincide with the season debut of Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood on June 17. The eight-episode series is a follow-up to last season's Tori & Dean: Inn Love, in which the couple was depicted developing a bed-and-breakfast property in Temecula, Calif.

“This isn't a brand revolution, it's an evolution,” Klarman, the former Bravo network marketer named Oxygen chief in January, said. “We want to be Oxygen everywhere.”

The channel wants to build on its recent success. Executives noted that The Bad Girls Club was top-rated among 18-to-34-year-old women during its time period in May. Oxygen had its best ratings month ever in May among women 18 to 34, women 18 to 49 and overall viewers 18 to 49, executives said.

The network has relaunched its Web site, where users are provided with widgets that enable them to place Oxygen content on MySpace and Facebook pages. The channel is also developing “sixth act” programming: Continuations of linear shows that are available only on the Web or via cellphone.

A vital part of the new attitude is Oxygen's mobile component: research has shown the target demographic can live without their television, and perhaps their laptops, but they can't live without their cell phones. Oxygen has placed click-throughs on every wireless provider's site, directing Web surfers to promos for Tori and Dean.

While concentrating on a multiplatform presence, Oxygen also is “focused like a laser beam” on making the latest show a hit, Klarman said. Marketing teams have been executing guerrilla campaigns to prompt interest in the show, such as placing “limousine drivers” in airports with signs reading “Welcome home, Tori and Dean,” and using skywriting to deliver the same message over Santa Monica beach, for instance. Posters for the show are omnipresent in New York subways as well.

Klarman considers Tori & Dean: Inn Love a hit for Oxygen, along with Bad Girls Club and The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.

“The big idea is to move from hit shows to a hit brand,” Klarman said, creating the expectation of fun but with an understanding of the complexity of the target audience. Through Web and mobile interactivity, that will even include in-show polling, Oxygen will learn a lot more about its audience, he said, adding, “That dialogue is important.”

September