Torn From the Pages of My Portfolio–The Nick at Nite Logo!

nan-logo2.jpg No, I didn’t design this logo. But I did help launch NICK AT NITE and the slogan “Hello Out There From TV Land!”

Here was the situation:

Nickelodeon had become a big daytime success as the world’s first kid network. It decided to start cashing in on its valuable air time at night, after the kiddies went to bed.

But all it could get its hands on for programming was a bunch of old black and white shows from the 60s–Car 54, Donna Reed, My Three Sons–stuff that had already been in syndication for decades.

My job as Creative Director of Fred/Alan, Inc. was to come up with an ad campaign that would make those chestnuts seem cool. We had to somehow make it more fun to watch those shows at Nick’s spot on the TV dial than it had been, or ever would be, over on stodgy old channel 29.
And here was the kicker. We had to do it on a shoestring. There was no budget for big splashy billboards, TV or radio spots.
Our solution? Small space ads in TV Guide. (Click to see them full size.)

NAN Giant Lizard NAN Blowup Small NAN Viewmask small Look Unalike#1 NAN Hoof shaped slippers NAN Bad Oats

We offered fake products, available nowhere…
My 3 Sons Small Mr. Ed Aftershave SmallC

(The Mr. Ed’s Aftershave was a real scratch and sniff ad that smelled like hay. Hey! What did you expect?)

We even gave out our own version of the Clio. We called it the Hucky. And it went to…NAN Adman of Year

Some might say that this is just silly. Exactamundo! It was silly like the 18 to 49 year old jokers and tokers we were trying to lure to our new TV Land theme park. And it worked! The result of all this lunacy is that NICK AT NITE (now with its sister network TV Land) became one of cable’s most successful channels. Our crazy campaign and the excellent work of Larry Jones and Jim Burns and a host of other talented programmers turned a bunch of old chestnuts into the world’s preeminent nostalgia network. Not bad for a shoestring!

Published in: on February 2, 2007 at 5:39 am  Comments (1)  



In 2001 Nick at Nite ran a trade campaign about the superiorty of their UNReality TV–the beloved sitcoms we all grew up with– vs. the raunchy so-called Reality TV that had recently become popular. These rants ran under the byline of one Raul DelGato Jr., but I was the campaign’s author. I was the mastermind behind the whole Listen To Me concept. (You can read about it by clicking here and signing up for a FREE membership in Media Post–a cool thing to do anyway.)

This wasn’t the first time Raul DelGato had sounded off in the trades. Allow me to introduce you to my original creation: Raul DelGato Senior.

Listen TO ME! Topf

(Note: To read this ad, click on “Edible Advertising” below)

His face was that of the late Tom Pomposello, a lovable and talented guy who composed a lot of Nickelodeon’s music. But his words were the words of a prophet, and they weren’t written on the subway walls. They were written in the pages of the industry’s most staid media publications. Here are a couple of my favorites. Click on them to enlarge–they’re well worth the read. Then we’ll talk…

Listen to Me!: Monumental Licensing

Listen to Me! Edible Advertising

Okay, first of all, check out the ideas in “Monumental Licensing.” Raul proposes licensing our great national treasures to corporations for a fee. Can you say “Staples Center”? AT&T Park? Are the Stove Top Stuffing Mountains really more ridiculous than that? And how about Pink Floyd, M & Ms, and Windows 95 all turning the Empire State Building different colors? Raul saw all that coming and more.

In one of our ads Raul exhorted media buyers to “Buy Space In Space”, encouraging them to put ads on the next NASA probe heading out of our solar system. Well, Arnold Shwarzeneger did just that to publicize his film True Lies–he bought ad space on the nosecone of a NASA rocket.

The Edible Advertising in the second ad is still a tasty idea waiting to happen. Come on media buyers, get with it! There are hungry reader/eaters stuck in subway trains and busses all over America.

Another one of Raul’s big concepts was “Mutter Media”–hiring people to walk around town muttering about your product. Today new media companies now hiring bloggers to merely mention their products and services on the web. Isn’t that just about the same thing? (I like Java Chip Ice Cream, by the way. In case anybody’s interested.)

There is a long list of things that Raul ranted about in the early 90s which came true.
When he returned on May 2, 2001, here’s what he had to say, in the Wall Street Journal no less. You’d be crazy not to heed his words…


Advertisers–Follow Me Into The Future. Embrace UN-Reality Before Reality Dumps You!

Is This Guy For Real?
That’s the question you’re asking yourself as you clutch this Newspaper. And the answer is NO! I’m for UN-Real. I’ve given up Reality, and so should you. I’ve placed this ad in order to deliver one simple message to YOU  Mr. and Mrs. Advertiser, before it’s too late: WAKE UP!   “Reality Television” is about to follow the dotcom business down the drain of cultural history. It will soon take its place alongside flagpole sitting, HUAC hearings, and Pet Rocks as just another quaint but vaguely annoying artifact of a bygone era.

There’s No Future In Reality!
I’m giving you the insider info you wish you’d had last summer–Get out of the reality market, NOW! Already people like me are starting to realize an ugly truth: Reality has us surrounded! It’s in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the news we read, the lines we stand on in the post office, the jobs we go to every day. Everything we do has one thing in common–It’s all real! And now–thanks to a bunch of network real-aholics–it’s even in the TV shows we watch. Shows featuring so-called “survivors” eating rat and slaughtering wild boar; “real” cops making busts; marriages going on the rocks in front of cheering audiences; angry fat people throwing chairs at each other. Do you really think that is what your target audience wants to come home to in the evening?. I wouldn’t bank on it. People everywhere are waking up to the fact that they have lost their grip on UNreality. And they want it back!
Call me an UNrealist
One month ago I reached the epiphany I described above. I gave up reality and cut myself off from the real world. I canceled all my magazine subscriptions, yanked out the radio and the phone, and threw my appointment book down the garbage disposal. I’ve never felt happier. The only connection to the “real” world I have maintained is NICK AT NITE. They’re the one TV network that presents 100% UNreality. Nick at Nite’s brand of UNreality comes in the form of an endless stream of sitcoms. All sitcoms, all the time. Think of the irony at work here! As the dotcoms are plummeting the sitcoms are on the rise! And NICK AT NITE is at the vanguard, leading us all into the Golden Age of the UNreal. At my house, all other channels have been blocked. Thanks to Nick at Nite, I can turn on my TV and preserve my reality-free living space without fear of being assaulted by the big R.

UNreality is the wave of the Past, the Present , and the Future
Already people across the country and around the world are following their UNstincts and joining me in giving Reality the boot. What that means to you is clear: soon the only place you’ll be able to reach anybody is through the timeless sitcom treasures of Nick at Nite, where past, present and future come together in a glorious celebration of the UNreal.

Why am I telling you this? I guess I felt I owed the advertising community–which has been so kind to me and my family over the years–one last communique before I disappear completely. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Okay, so Raul didn’t always get it right. In the years since that ad ran Reality TV has done pretty well, and the dot coms are making a major comeback. But he still makes some mighty good points, and the whole campaign is funny and fits with the Nick at Nite Brand. That’s pretty good for the trades!

Published in: on January 25, 2007 at 10:13 pm  Comments (1)