AMC Networks Constructs an Inclusive "Avenue" for Sponsors

By AMC Networks InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: AMC Networks Constructs an Inclusive "Avenue" for Sponsors

AMC Networks has launched a new initiative dedicated to helping advertisers exploring pathways to reach multicultural audiences. The initiative, known as Avenue, was introduced during a virtual presentation late last week.

The goal is to associate adverting messages with content on AMC's portfolio of programming that celebrate a variety of underrepresented audiences, including Black; Latinx/Hispanic; LGBTQIA+; Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and women. Content on both linear cable networks and streamed services provide opportunities.

"[Avenue is] a place where you and your brands can effectively reach diverse audiences, which we can reach at scale for your brands," said Kim Kelleher, AMC Networks' President of Commercial Revenue and Partnerships.

Avenue will serve as an online and in-person resource to partner advertisers with unique multicultural/specialized audience-building opportunities, 365 days a year. Beyond offering information and data about ad placement, clients will be empowered to create customized commercials or branded segments with input from AMC's Avenue Creative Class, which includes on- and-off-camera talent involved with various series.

Initial Creator Class members include The Walking Dead executive producer Angela Kang and Courtney B. Vance, star of 61st Street, launching April 10 on AMC, AMC+ and ALLBLK.

Avenue will operate within AMC Networks' existing branded programming unit, known as the "Content Room." Two executives are supervising the effort: Trina Pepe, Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing & Avenue, and Dominique Johnson, Director of Impact Marketing & Avenue

"Diverse audiences want fewer stereotypes and more accurate and authentic representation of our cultures," Johnson said. "We want content for the culture, not about the culture -- story building, as opposed to storytelling. [We want to spark] conversations with content built from the ground up with each lived experience in mind -- to showcase a diversity of lived experiences; embrace rich storytelling; and amplify the historical triumphs and accomplishments of underrepresented groups without trauma."

The Walking Dead's final season and upcoming weekly anthology Tales From The Walking Dead (coming this summer) are among the first series pitching advertiser participation through Avenue.

Series launching this summer and during the 2022-23 season are also in the mix. They include Dark Winds, a police drama headlining Native Americans on both sides of the camera; Pantheon, AMC's first adult animated saga created by Asian-American Ken Liu; as well as ALLBLK's new Thursday-night programming block on WE tv.

"We have received a lot of positive feedback from the marketplace, which recognizes the need for help with developing inclusive campaigns and diverse creative," Kelleher told MediaVillage after the event took place. "As content creators we know the work of inclusion is long overdue and hard to navigate. We've seen real interest from our partners in utilizing Avenue as a trusted resource."

Avenue is also seeking to interest advertisers in a series of short films that focus on multicultural milestones, under the banner "Stories That Move." The films will play on several AMC services. Another Avenue opportunity involves Can We Talk About This? Up until now, it's been a group of SundanceTV interstitials about putting classic movie stereotypes in context, but it will morph into a series examining entertainment inclusion with content performers, creators and influencers.

Avenue's presentation also featured ALLBLK Senior Vice President Of Development and Production Nikki Love; Dark Winds star Zahn McClarnon; and Kevin Can F**k Himself creator/showrunner/executive producer Valerie Armstrong.

"So much of our history has been told inaccurately," McClarnon commented.

"Telling the story, you're qualified to tell [matters] -- what I've experienced or a shade of what I've experienced," added Armstrong.

"For us, making sure the stories are controlled by our narrative is critical," chimed in Love.

Down the road, Avenue will introduce tentpole opportunities that encourage campaigns or branded content tied to specific occasions from Black History Month and Pride Month to the Lunar New Year. Special event participation, such as the annual Comic-Con in San Diego, is also under consideration.

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