Hgtv and Brand Identities

10 October 2016

These inspiring artists and designers often fit into the stereotype of fashionably up-to-date women or openly gay men, similar to the hosts seen on the network’s programs. The HGTV network displays a brand identity for itself by airing programs and advertisements that attract middle-aged women and inspiring designers and decorators, and also by displaying the common values of these frequent viewers. In this essay, I will provide examples of HGTV’s brand identity through advertisements and specified episodes of particular network programs.

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The Home and Garden Television network belongs to Scripps Networks Interactive, along with the Cooking Channel, the DIY Network, the Food Network, Great American Country and the Travel Channel. These channels collect audiences that are 73% women, 60% homeowners, and have an average age of 48 years (Scripps Network Interactive website). This means that a majority of the viewers are middle-aged women, whom probably have a family and own a home. For this reason, the Home and Garden Television network advertises products that middle-aged women, along with other inspiring artists would find useful or vital for bettering their home.

If an audience member tunes into HGTV for a thirty-minute period, the viewer is likely to see an advertisement pertaining to home improvement or gardening. The Home Depot, a superstore dedicated to home improvement, is often advertised on HGTV. The store’s slogan, “You Can Do It, We Can Help,” and “More Saving, More Doing” directly correlates to the network’s do-it-yourself theme. The commercials often show couples painting walls, staining their back deck, or hanging family portraits on their walls. The programs on the Home and Garden Television network also show actions similar to these.

There is a specific brand identity found in not only the programs found on HGTV but within the advertisements as well. It is clear that these advertisements fit perfectly with the network station due to what the network is airing and what the advertisements are selling. HGTV does not stop advertising with just the television. The Home and Garden Television website is swarming with advertisements all along the right side of the screen. With the spring season in full swing, the website works hand-in-hand with advertisers selling gardening supplies.

For example, if one was to peruse the HGTVGardens portion of the site, one will find an advertisement for Scotts grass seed, Monrovia plants, and deck stains that can be purchased at Lowe’s home improvement store. The people who are most susceptible to see these advertisements and buy the product are the individuals whom want to better their homes and gardens. These individuals are more likely to watch HGTV if they are interested in home and garden renovations. This is another example of how Scripps Network Interactive uses brand identity through advertisements on its website.

The brand identity displayed all over the Home and Garden Television network can also be seen through the hosts of the programs. The interior designers, if not women, are almost all gay men. An example of an openly gay male on HGTV would be David Bromstad. Bromstad is the host of “Color Splash,” a program that “transforms tired rooms into vibrant, unforgettable spaces” (HGTV website). Bromstad came out at age twenty-two, although he knew at a very young age he was gay (South Florida Gay News). He was often bullied in his small town of 2,000 people in Minnesota.

He stated that the world of art and design did not judge him by his sexual orientation (South Florida Gay News). The Home and Garden Television network openly accepts Bromstad by granting him a spot on its network to share his talents and ideas. Other openly gay men seen on HGTV are John Gidding of “Curb Appeal: The Block” and Barry Vargas and carpenter Justin Huxol of the show “Shop This Room”. HGTV demonstrates its brand identity by starring their most common viewers: middle-aged women and gay men. HGTV also displays the common theme of middle-aged women and gay men as the contestants of the individual television programs.

Various episodes of every program aired on HGTV display different family units such as newlyweds, single parents, and retired couples. More recently, the network has been airing episodes that show gay contestants. Shows such as “House Hunters” and “Bang For Your Buck” are the two shows on HGTV that have the largest amount of gay couples on their program. (Scripps Network Interactive website). In an episode of “House Hunters,” African- American gay couple, Gee and Juan, are looking for a large enough home to entertain their family and friends.

At the end of the episode when the couple make their decision, they celebrate with a hug and a kiss. HGTV displays their brand identity of middle-aged women and gay men not only through their advertisements and show designers, but also through the contestants of the individual programs. The Home and Garden Television network often focuses on a core value to most middle-aged women, family. Many hosts of programs, such as Casey Noble of “Design on a Dime,” use the term “family friendly” quite frequently. This show, as the title illustrates, is designed to help homeowners with a small budget spruce up their home.

Often times the homeowners are couples with small children, whom are spending their income on diapers and groceries rather than chandeliers and wall paint. Casey Noble aids to her clients as she makes sure to create a fashionable home while maintaining the “family friendly” atmosphere. Noble achieves this by limiting the amount of breakable decorations, purchasing end tables and other furniture with round edges compared to sharp ones, and also by installing hardwood floors rather than carpet for an easy clean up. The Home and Garden Television network airs episodes such as these to display the values of the targeted audience.

HGTV viewers are aimed to believe that the family unit is a core value, which adds to the network’s brand identity. Genevieve Gorder, host and designer of the show “Dear Genevieve” also demonstrates the importance of family when she hosted a Christmas special that would make “cramped holiday celebrations a thing of Christmas past” (HGTV website). This special episode was dedicated to warming the house with appropriate decorations for family and guests around the winter holidays. Gorder shared tips on how to open up a space to fit more people by keeping it as comfortable and cozy as possible (HGTV website).

The Home and Garden Television network intentionally airs programs like these to instill the core values of the majority of their viewers, which is family. Anna Everett states in her article entitled, “Trading Public and Private Spaces” that the Home and Garden Television network emphasizes personal relations, familial ties, and emotional crises through its wide variety of programs. These relationships and crises, Everett states, are said to be most likely found and resolved in a domestic space, such as a person’s home. Anna Everett’s claim correlates to the rand identity found on the Home and Garden Television network of valuing family in the comfort of one’s own home. These crises and relationships found on HGTV’s network display the obvious message that homeowners and inspiring artists who tune into HGTV should have family as one of their core values. The Home and Garden Television network inspires and motivates people all over America to revamp and personalize their homes. The network’s easy-to-do techniques invite audiences of all demographics to tune in and pick up a paintbrush or a hammer.

Although HGTV welcomes all viewers, the network targets their most avid fans, middle-aged women and gay men. The network narrows in on their specific audience by advertising products that would interest middle-aged homemakers and inspiring artists. HGTV also aids to its specific audience by airing people whom are similar to the network’s brand identity. The Home and Garden Television network is a successful example of how brand identities work on national television. Anna Everett stated in her article that the HGTV viewer rate increased by almost 60 million from the year 1994 to 2001.

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