War has erupted in the heavens between the TV news angels, and we’re not talking about news choppers jockeying for position above a warehouse fire.
WXIN-TV Channel 59 has plastered the likeness of its news anchor Angela Ganote high atop local billboards sporting three, incendiary words:
ONLY ONE ANGELA.
Every couch potato knows Fox59 is poking fun at WTHR-TV Channel 13’s Angela Buchman. The popular weather prognosticator returned to the air early this month following a yearlong noncompete period from her contract with former employer WISH-TV Channel 8.
The ad is an uncharacteristic provocation in the normally milquetoast world of local TV news. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!
“Why, I don’t know what you mean,” said Michael Brouder, WXIN’s director of creative services.
Brouder’s not fooling anyone.
“It was done with tongue firmly planted in cheek,” he confessed. “If you know about the local news market, you would certainly get it.”
WTHR and local media looking to increase hits to their websites hyped the heck out of Buchman’s return to local television for months. The lingering buzz wasn’t lost on the marketing mavens at WXIN.
“A lot of people are talking about it [the Ganote billboards],” said Sue Doron, media director at local ad agency Miller Brooks. “In a way, if you think about it, it kind of helps WTHR, and it can help Fox 59. … It doesn’t hurt anybody.”
WXIN’s billboards are unusually dissonant for a local station. Marketing messages making a reference, even so subtly, to one’s competitor is unusual, said Rick Gevers of Rick Gevers and Associates, a Zionsville-based firm that represents TV news talent.
The typical billboard ad for a local TV station amounts to, as one local news executive put it, “a hockey team picture” of the newsteam standing in a group, shining cheesy smiles.
WXIN, by contrast, is featuring just one newscast member in each of its billboards in a new ad campaign that includes Ganote. They’re black-and-white portraits, with an understated glamour.
Perhaps that’s because WXIN hired Russian-born fashion photographer Polina Osherov for a bit of sophistication.
“We’re going for candid, fun. Not your typical, stiff anchor,” Osherov said in a Fox59 promotional video about the photo shoot.
“It’s definitely in line with what we consider to be the Fox moxie. It fits our brand,” said Brouder. “We really strived to develop a brand campaign for our newscasts that’s atypical of what you would expect.”
WXIN has put individual members of is newscasts on about 40 billboards in the metro area, and additional ones slated to appear around Interstate 465.
As for WTHR, a station executive didn’t return messages.