Cannes Lions

Turner - We Make Fans


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Turner was faced with a time of uncertainty with the impending AT&T/Time Warner merger. Additional challenges:

• Changing customers - viewers expect content wherever & whenever they want.

• Business model - the economic model of the past won’t work in the future, and Turner had to meet that problem today.

• Branding - for the entirety of Turner’s history, our brands operated solo, rarely linking arms to tell a unified story

We needed to put forth a strong idea to break these boundaries, address the challenges head on and position the company as one that is reshaping the media landscape. We set out to craft the first rally cry that everyone could sing in unison, while maintaining the focus of our efforts on audiences and fans. Our objective was to demonstrate that Turner not only makes great content—we create real communities and connections through creative storytelling and shared experiences.


Belonging is what creates the impact for brands and advertisers. In a world where individuals too often feel dislocated and socially isolated, Turner stands as a beacon for community, inclusion, and a place where fans belong.

We needed to clearly articulate the Turner difference and use it to embolden the company as we faced the marketplace. There was a simple solution at the core of Turner’s business—stories and fandom can bridge this gap and rally people into powerful, passionate communities. Because Turner believes that true fans make the most valuable and engaged consumers, this idea would define the campaign—both internally for Turner’s staff, and externally with B2B touchpoints and consumer-facing ideas.


What better way to show how “we make fans” than by showcasing our own fans and their creations and connections? We identified key passion groups: current and future employees, ad sales, and the diversity & inclusion, technology and creative communities.

If we want to truly and deeply connect with fans, we have to be an authentic reflection of who they are. At every level, in front of and behind the camera, on and off the screen, we need a diversity of backgrounds and experience driving our strategic and creative process to succeed. We highlighted this internally by spotlighting employee super-fans for a worldwide office branding revamp and intranet-based video campaign.

Externally, we found that moments where fans interacted with Turner in the real world resonated as the most authentic, such as taking selfies with talent such as Conan or Niecy Nash, or cosplaying at branded events.


After launching internally, the first external campaign showcase took place at CES 2018 with MARKERS, an immersive experience that let fans insert themselves into an epic mural drawn by artbots. In partnership with Inside the NBA, we hosted a selfie contest, offering a meet & greet to the fan who posted the best selfie with the MARKERS drawing of Charles Barkley.

At CES 2019, Turner went further by developing a Fanstallation, which was an interactive art exhibit, as well as an art gallery of fan-created Turner artwork. The gallery incorporated an augmented reality video app for bonus content.

Additionally, we deployed a robust, ad sales-driven trade campaign timed to the Upfront, Turner’s annual advanced programming slate reveal for advertisers, featuring the sub-tagline: “It’s more than an audience. It’s a following.” This included out of home creative on the streets of NYC, branded content partnerships and a new microsite:


“We Make Fans” energized Turner to become one team. As the campaign was driven by B2B goals, below are specific results to the campaign launch during the 2018 Upfront:

- Branded content partnerships with custom interactive pages on Business Insider, Adweek and Cynopsis generated 257k views, exceeding the guaranteed totals and benchmarks per vendor.

- Print placements in AdAge & Adweek including cover wraps generated 129k circulation in corresponding issues.

- OOH placements including bus wraps in NYC, and marquee & ceiling panel placements at Madison Square Garden, generated 11M impressions. Regarding portfolio awareness initiatives, 10M total impressions were delivered from NYC Link boards.

- Paid search optimization efforts generated 54k impressions, and Turner maintained an average ad position of 1.2 despite competition.

Overall, Turner’s fans were the focus of a highly successful campaign while highlighting our properties through the lens of the audiences that love them most.

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