Chris Moseley: Branded For Life - Lunch at Michael's

By Jack Myers Lunch at Michael's Archives

There are few people in the marketing and television community who engender such a loyal and dedicated following as Chris Moseley, EVP Worldwide Marketing for Crown Media Holdings, and parent of the Hallmark Channel. Chris is one of the acknowledged deans of television brand marketing, recognized for building the Discovery Channel and launching The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery retail stores and now the Hallmark Channel.

Originally Published: September 12, 2003

There are few people in the marketing and television community who engender such a loyal and dedicated following as Chris Moseley, EVP Worldwide Marketing for Crown Media Holdings, and parent of the Hallmark Channel. Chris is one of the acknowledged deans of television brand marketing, recognized for building the Discovery Channel and launching The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery retail stores and now the Hallmark Channel.

But her career could have been very different if she had followed any one of several early career choices. Originally, Chris thought she would follow in her father's footsteps by attending Cornell Law School and becoming an attorney. But when she visited Ithaca, NY she "had a visceral intuitive reaction" that convinced her Cornell and law school were not in her future. (Her Dad, at 91, is still a practicing attorney and disappointed he couldn't turn his practice over to Chris.)

Instead she studied international relations at the Johns Hopkins program in Bologna, Italy, although she "has no recollection of how she actually got there." At college in Wooster, Ohio, she had met Tom Moseley and upon her return from Europe, they met again and were soon engaged and married. They moved to Chris' hometown, Baltimore, where she was offered a job as a secretary in the WBAL-TV newsroom. "I thought it was the coolest job," she recalls. "Where else can you watch 'Godzilla' movies from your desk at 4PM?" While at the station, Chris was encouraged to audition to be the on-air weather girl, "but I was teased unmercifully and decided that I would never be on air!" She became assistant promotion director but Tom was promoted to his company's headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. "I quit my job and moved for Tom (who is now an attorney), but ever since I have dragged him from city to city every time I have changed jobs."

From Hartford, Chris and Tom moved to Miami, and then to Los Angeles, New York, back to Maryland for Discovery, to New York and Los Angeles again for ABC Network, and now to Hallmark in LA. In New York, Chris worked originally for WPIX-TV as promotion director. Jane Maas, a creative legend herself, met Chris while her agency, Muller, Jordan & Weiss, was pitching the WPIX account. Jane asked Chris to join MJ&W, and the two women became lifelong friends while developing marketing and branding strategies for Hearst Magazines and several other media clients. In 1988, while working at Earle Palmer Brown agency, Chris received a fateful call from headhunter

Susan Bishop, asking if Chris would consider joining an emerging cable network in Maryland with only 55 employees. It was time for Chris to go back home and to Discovery Channel. (What few people know is that a house Chris had loved since she was a child had just come on the market, and a selling point for her was the opportunity to purchase and live in that house. Chris and Tom still own the house and consider it home.)

Although it may seem Chris has moved frequently, she is actually a homebody. "I'm a nut about gardening and learning all about plants. I'm a dirt grubber," she laughs. "I won a garden design competition for best rock garden when I was 12. Now I have a rose garden and am getting my arms around tropical flowers." Chris also loves to cook, and has been known to volunteer to prepare major dinner parties, shipping live Maryland crab in for crab cakes, picking fresh mint in the field for minted melon balls, and waking at dawn to visit the Farmer's Market to pick out what's fresh and then cooking until 2 AM the next day. "Note to self," she jokes. "It's time to hang up my whisk."

Chris calls Baltimore home and she loves L.A. and the challenges of marketing an independent channel with the extraordinary brand heritage of Hallmark, but she misses her New York friends. "New York is a terrific professional environment, especially for women. It's very performance oriented." Her history as an "indefatigable brand builder" has always been focused on performance. "In a sea of choices and parity products, you need to define for consumers what sets you apart that cements their relationship with you."

Chris is most proud of her long-lasting relationships a team she has worked with for years. She credits Jane Maas for teaching her the "Ogilvy & Mather paradigm of bringing people together for give-and-take brainstorming with no territoriality that gets in the way of ideation. The challenge is to keep raising the bar, being relentless in the pursuit of excellent strategies and creativity, and keeping people motivated."

A colleague of Chris' comments: "Chris is an incredible motivator. She is constantly challenging us to be the best we can, and she always reinforces how great she thinks we are." Wherever Chris

Moseley may travel; she will be branded for life as the television industry's ultimate brand builder.

Chris can be reached at contact@jackmyers.com.

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