Thinking Inside the Box

MPTV is Opening Your World

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi Ellis Bromberg with more "Thinking Inside the Box" on

The advertising world uses a phrase called "brand promise." And although we're a noncommercial station, we do have a brand just like commercial stations do, things which are distinctive or characteristic about Milwaukee Public Television.

While both commercial television and MPTV provide you with information and entertainment, commercial TV focuses on programming that is advertiser-driven and somewhat homogeneous. MPTV, in contrast, is southeastern Wisconsin's only local, diverse, and non-commercial alternative, and we're a trusted resource for education and enjoyment through television programming as well as community outreach. Our brand "promise" is that we afford the community an uncommon opportunity to freely explore different parts of themselves and the world around them in a way commercial TV and cable networks do not.

This summer we began to discuss how we could distill that promise into a short phrase that we could use on-air. We shared a variety of different ideas, but one word and one concept kept coming up: the word "open." The idea of being "open" to different things, or "opening up" a subject to viewers -- that's central to what we do at MPTV.

Since we're a visual medium, we explored how we could represent this idea graphically, and that turned out to be so incredibly simple that everything kind of fell into place.

For example: representing our children's programming by the opening of a book or a toddler's eyes; our cooking programs by the opening of a stove or cooking pot; our local programming by the opening of the Calatrava wings at the Art Museum or the roof at Miller Park; our travel programming by the opening of doors on a plane or train as we debark; our nature and science programming by the opening of a flower or a butterfly's wings; our public affairs programming by opening the doors of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the State Capitol so you have a deeper understanding of what's going on inside. You get it.

And now you're seeing the execution of those ideas in new visuals on the air, on our website, and in print. Our new theme is "Opening Your World." We think that's the perfect distillation of our brand promise, our mission, our vision: "Opening Your World." That's what we try to do with our programming, and our outreach activities for young and old.

So I'm interested in your thoughts about how we can improve on this "brand promise," and I do hope you'll drop me a line or give me a call and share your ideas.

And I'll be back soon with more "Thinking Inside the Box."