Yesterday morning seems like a long time ago in the Internet world, but if you can remember anything about Aug. 31, 2015, the Number 1 calamity among classic movie fans was TCM’s announcement of a new branding campaign called “Let’s Movie.”
At first, I was a bit apprehensive about embracing this idea, and new TCM General Manager Jennifer Dorian’s relatively vague comments to Deadline didn’t help. But the full press release really cleared things up. Will McKinley’s excellent post also helped out. TCM co-host Ben Mankiewicz was also enlisted to calm everyone’s nerves on Twitter last night.
The big thing that I’m getting out of all this is that it is merely a slogan change and a refreshing of branding. Networks do this all the time. Thanks to a recent embracing of more modern classics, this change seemed like another step closer to changing the very DNA of Turner Classic Movies. Of course, it definitely sucks that the slogan turns “movie” into a verb, but it might help get more members of my generation interested in the movies I love.
The fact is, I’m a rarity. I’ve watched TCM since at least high school and really got addicted to it through college (even though TCM wasn’t available at Hofstra. I have no idea how many times I called my parents to make sure they DVR’d something for me). But I know for a fact not many of my colleagues get excited about a Barbara Stanwyck night, never mind a Pre-Code marathon. Seeing a commercial that features people my age is kind of refreshing. TCM, like every network, isn’t going to last long if it can only get an older audience. Maybe it means there will be even more young faces at the 2016 TCM Film Festival.
On Sept. 19, TCM is having a #LetsMovie day. And the star that night is Anton Walkbrook. If you think TCM is really going to change their philosophy, they wouldn’t be hosting a holiday when The Red Shoes – one of the greatest films about showbusiness ever made – is the 8 p.m. movie. Also, if this means that even more people will be introduced to the artistry of Powell & Pressberger then… #LetsMovie!
Going over the definition of “classic movie” might be a topic for another post, but TCM getting a chance to show some more modern classics is a good idea. Great movies are still being made and fantastic movies were made since 1980. Of course, playing these movies will get expensive, so it will be interesting to see how long TCM can go without showing any commercials (yes, I know Mankiewicz said they will never air commercials).