There is no shortage of cable news outlets, all with biases and leanings. Only one carries the non-partisan mantle with true authority—C-SPAN. Parodied often, yet with much fondness, C-SPAN is the beloved, straight-laced aunt you don’t want to change, but whose closet you’d love to purge to “retire” a few outfits. Their 40th anniversary was the opportunity to update their stodgy image and focus on their relevance, breadth and uniqueness.
The challenge was to ensure that what makes C-SPAN iconic remained. More than a channel covering the House, there’s also C-SPAN2 & C-SPAN3, original programming, C-SPAN Radio’s mobile app and a searchable/editable archive of nearly 250,000 hours of video. A new visual identity had to work seamlessly across this broadcast, print and online landscape.
Supplementing C-SPAN’s brand awareness/sentiment study, we conducted interviews with Capitol Hill staffers, media, and C-SPAN’s funders. We heard C-SPAN was more relevant today than ever, and that they should toot their own horn more.
The most visible part of the task—refreshing the logo—did not take place in a vacuum; it was guided by our positioning recommendations for the 40th anniversary and beyond.
“Your Unfiltered View of Government” reminded viewers that C-SPAN is unique in its unbiased reporting. The “make up your own mind” campaign used :15 pre-roll videos to support the positioning, while “created by cable in 1979” addressed both the anniversary and the fact that C-SPAN receives zero government funding.