Viviane Paxinos is senior director of Advertising Sales at A+E Networks UK. She’s
also the firecracker behind the company’s collaborative and holistic approach to
advertising; a marriage between what brands and viewers want.
With three established A+E channels airing in South Africa – Crime+Investigation®,
Lifetime® and HISTORY® – Paxinos is keen to see local brands take the kind of
creative risks which are giving those in international markets an edge in audience
“I still think the 30-second advert is quite powerful and plays an important role; but
with viewers being fragmented and there being so much choice available, we came
up with the idea of creating brand partnerships,’ Paxinos explains.
Rather than be an interruption to the viewing experience, this approach aims to
integrate brands with content in such a way that they become an entertaining
extension of the content itself. Take for example a campaign in which a brand was
incorporated into a recreated funny scene from Lifetime’s Devious Maids using
lookalike talent. Or Canon’s original reality series Photo Face-Off, an advertiser-
funded programme on HISTORY which sees amateur photographers compete in a
series of photography challenges.
Paxinos adds: “We do things that stimulate emotion – it could be something funny
or something that surprises you in a way that makes you react. Our partnerships
need to add value to the viewer and to feel like entertainment. It’s something I love
to do and I’ve seen lots of success from brands doing this around the world.’
Because A+E has taken such an open-minded approach, brands are able to play in a
space without limitations and produce tailor-made ways of communicating with
audiences. A brand could be included in show storyline if it makes sense, or be
portrayed in a clever vignette which leads on from something relevant which
happened in a show before it breaks for commercials. Paxinos believes working
together with brands in this way encourages more creative advertising strategies.
“Viewers are really clever and they’ll watch what they want to watch. It’s about
giving the audience what they want and delivering great content. Be there and
they’ll follow you. With these creative partnerships we can be part of that
conversation while also creating more noise and activity for brands. When you are
looking at shifting a brand, creating a new brand perspective or launching a new
product, you need to do something more inventive to cut through and stand out,’
– Carly Barnes