In honor of the Norman Lear/Jimmy Kimmel special, which is re-creating 1975 episodes of “All in the Family” and “Good Times” with modern casts, ABC promos that evening will use throwback voiceovers, graphics and title treatments inspired by the Alphabet network’s actual on-air campaigns from that era. (Yes, that includes a voice-over actor emulating Ernie Anderson’s famous announcing from back then.)
ABC Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios marketing president Shannon Ryan said the idea came out of a conversation with Kimmel. “We hatched an idea to ‘retro-fit’ — get it? — all of our promos so that when viewers turn on ABC on Wednesday, it will appear as if they’re stepping back in time,” she said. “The graphics package, the logo, the voiceover, the music and the copy will all look and feel as if viewers are watching television in the ’70s.”
That means extra touches like utilizing the old television 4:3 ratio, and even mentioning the Mountain time zone (a practice that disappeared some time in the 1990s) in the spots.
The retro promos will include spots for “The Good Doctor,” “A Million Little Things,” “The Rookie,” “Stumptown,” “The Bachelor,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time,” “The Oscars” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” the last two featuring actual footage from 1975. ABC also created combined spots from its Tuesday and Wednesday night comedy blocks.
To create the look, Ryan said her team tracked down the original ABC graphic packages and the ABC logo from 1975 and recreated them.
“The team went through so many classic TV spots from the ’70s for inspiration,” she said. “We pulled promos for ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘Hart to Hart’ that served as inspiration for ‘Stumptown.’ ‘Starsky & Hutch,’ ‘The Streets of San Francisco,’ ‘Kojak’ and ‘The Rookies’ inspired ‘The Rookie’ spot. ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ inspired ‘The Good Doctor’ promo. Also, shows like ‘Family’ inspired ‘A Million Little Things’ and ‘The Dating Game’ inspired ‘The Bachelor’ and we’re using both of those theme songs in the spots. We also took inspiration from the big brand campaigns back in the day like ‘Come on Along with ABC,’ and we’re using that song in the Tuesday comedy combo spot.”
In the new spots, it’s Steve French doing an impersonation of classic VO announcer Ernie Anderson.
Meanwhile, Ryan’s team also shared the idea with ABC News, which created a retro-spot for GMA. ABC’s affiliate marketing team also recruited several stations are creating retro-spots for their local news.
Here is a sneak preview of some of the spots set to run on Wednesday:
Promo for Tuesday comedies:
Promo for “Stumptown”:
Promo for “The Rookie”:
Promo for “A Million Little Things”: