A & E Television Networks

AuthorEd Dinger

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235 East 45th Street

New York, New York 10017


Telephone: (212) 210-1400

Fax: (212) 850-9370

Web site: www.aetv.com


In 2001 the Concept Farm, a boutique advertising agency based in New York, launched a promotional effort for History Channel International, part of A & E Television Networks, itself a joint venture of Hearst, ABC, Inc., and NBC. History Channel International was carried alongside its older cousin, the History Channel, on many U.S. cable and satellite television systems, but it faced different challenges in reaching its target audience, men in the age range of 24 to 54. Not only did the agency have to find a way to make familiar historical footage seem fresh, but the spots also had to work in any number of cultures around the world.

Modestly budgeted, the Concept Farm's second campaign for History Channel International, called "In Case You Missed It," attempted to meet those challenges through a humorous mix of stock and contrived footage. The unfortunate heroes of the campaign's three 30-second spots were well situated to witness some of the most important moments in history, only to be accidentally distracted and miss the climax. Each ad closed with the title card, "In case you missed it the first time," and the History Channel logo.

The campaign, which began in 2001, was successful with American audiences, winning several awards and improving the status of the Concept Farm. The humor was not as well received in other countries, however, causing some overseas broadcast partners not to run the spots. As a result, more serious-minded promotional campaigns followed.


The Concept Farm was founded by advertising veterans frustrated by working at big agencies. According to Anthony Vagnoni, writing for Print, "They started the company so that they could freely pursue ideas for new kinds of advertising and explore projects that would otherwise be abandoned." Griffin Stenger, one of the firm's cofounders and creative directors, told Vagnoni, "We've all seen too many ideas get killed by account people or marketing executives at big corporate clients." Like many boutiques, the Concept Farm looked for niche opportunities, in particular in the field of broadcast promotions (ads for TV channels and their programs).

As the number of television channels increased dramatically with the rise of cable television, so, too, did the need to promote them. Although the budgets were small and the deadlines tight, the Concept Farm was attracted to the freedom afforded by broadcast clients. Television marketing departments had fewer management layers than those of other companies, and this streamlined the approval process and allowed ad agencies a better chance of seeing their work on the screen unfiltered. As Gregg

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Wasiak, a cofounder of the Concept Farm, told Ann-Christine Diaz of Advertising Age's Creativity, "The speed at which everything has to happen really means broadcast clients have to make a lot of gut decisions. They understand their...

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