Birmingham station launches ‘LLL’ branding with image campaign

WVTM, Hearst’s NBC affiliate serving Birmingham, Alabama, recently began using the “Live. Local. Late Breaking” branding and released image campaign-style promos that introduce the concept and what it means for viewers.

Sometimes referred to as “LLL” or “Triple L,” “Live. Local. Late Breaking” takes advantage of a combination of alliteration and increasing syllables to create a catchy series of words that often describe the key goals of local news.

The campaign features a total of four spots, two of which are spotlighted here.

In one spot, WVTM, which brands as WVTM 13 News on air, the station introduces the tagline by first mentioning its weather team of “experienced meteorologists” and how they offer “live” coverage that “prepares” and “protects” viewers. 

The “local” angle is introduced by focusing on what the station labels as “local journalists reporting the facts first.”

For “late breaking,” the station switches gears to drive home its breaking news coverage, promising to get teams on the scene to keep viewers “in the know.”

“These are your stories. This is our commitment. We are WVTM 13 News. Live. Local. Late Breaking,” the announcer concludes as the station logo and tagline appears prominently on the screen.

The second promo in the campaign starts by focusing on the local neighborhoods the station services and its commitment to “telling your stories” before the announcer proclaims the WVTM as “your choice for live, local, late-breaking coverage” before then running through the various dayparts the station offers news.

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“The purpose of this promo was to more aggressively stress the meaning of Live. Local. Late Breaking coverage while showcasing how the brand is being executed across all of our dayparts,” said Justin Johnson, the station’s creative services director who oversaw the creation of the promos. “We really wanted to highlight the faces that our viewers will be seeing throughout the day in every newscast to further fortify a connection to the audience and reinforce recognition of talent. This is one of my favorite spots that we’ve produced this year.”

There’s a quick reference to breaking news and weather “that impacts you” and how it keeps viewers “connected,” “safe” and “informed.” 

“Your trusted source for live, local, late-breaking coverage,” the announcer says again, driving home the new tagline.

Both promos feature a combination of footage of talent on-set and in the field, as well as showcasing the station’s fleet of news vehicles and gear. There are also shots of people viewing simulated WVTM content on a variety of devices, helping emphasize its digital and on-air offerings.

There are also several shots of a hand thrusting a mic with WVTM flag on it, creating an element of consistency throughout the campaign. 

WVTM has been planning to rebrand under “LLL” for months now, an effort lead by General Manager Susana Schuler, News Director Baylor Long and Johnson.

The goal is to bridge the gap between how the station services its audience today and how it plans to continue to serve it into the future.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve produced as a team,” said Johnson. 

“Live. Local. Late Breaking.” has been a popular news branding tagline for decades. According to government records, it was once a registered trademark of Raycom Media, but that registration has since lapsed.

It was sometimes leveraged to emphasize a station’s ability to go live from the scene of news back in the days when microwave and other remove newsgathering vehicles were more of a valuable commodity, especially in smaller markets. 

Select other stations in the Hearst Television group has used the tagline over the years. The Hearst TV News Music Package used at most of its stations in the past had a “Live. Local. Late Breaking” alternative signature that featured a series of notes that matched the syllabication of the tagline (along with variations such as “Where the News Comes First” and “Coverage You Can Count On” for when stations used other slogans or wanted a different variation).

It’s also not uncommon to see slight variations in the words used, such as flipping “live” and “local” to presumably put more of an emphasis on local coverage give that producing live television these days isn’t necessarily impressive thanks to bonded cellular and consumer grade video calling becoming mainstream. Some stations have also traded out one words for something such as “Investigative,” which ruins the alliteration but also emphasizes that unit.

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