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A Case Study in Flexibility

Sonic branding for TBS is the ultimate example of flexibility and sonic identity system planning.  The brand's mission was to "F..k with the viewer!", so the mnemonic is designed in 2 parts where opposite styles of music can come together in unlimited combinations - surprising and often humorous.  This idea was so flexible we created a drum machine of mnemonic parts that TBS could use to combine / create their own mnemonic versions, and these were used as a platform against which to place their vast library of wacky and surprising design and animated materials for social content, promos, interstitials and idents.

TBS / Turner Broadcasting

How did TBS use sonic branding to drive content generation?

"Mnemonic Generator" drum machine


We believe in the power of music to inspire both design and content.  TBS has a history of letting visual artists and animators concoct the most imaginative and out of the box short material around their logo, and creating a machine that their design team could play with to see what tickles their funny bones was a perfect solution to inspiring how to use much of this material.  With 3-5 second sonic platforms being pumped out with no possibility for a 'wrong' solution, TBS could pull from their visual arsenal, place images against sonic hit points, and post to social or create a promo or ident with an instant score.  Reminiscent of the glory days of MTV where animators were free to reimagine their logo no holds barred, this created a music driven solution to TBS' goal of "F..king with the viewer!"


TBS was able to use the short 3-part mnemonic model as a backbone to pump out short social content.  Telling funny short stories in 3 chapters, they simply matched artwork or video grabs from shows to create fun, irreverent social posts.

Beat Boxing

As our music intelligence found that beat boxing is the most irreverent, surprising and humorous way to appeal to our consumers, so we worked with famous beat-box artist Tom Thumb to create a sonic toolkit fo the TBS mnemonic generator.

How Music Intelligence helped TBS to discover their sonic strategy for
"F..king with the viewer"

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Musical Misdirection

“Musical Misdirection” is a powerful tool that can accentuate and evoke the TBS Brand Values.  We found this through a full analysis of the sonic landscape and discovering the most effective instances of viewer shock and humor, then creating a sonic strategy around it.

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TBS / Turner Broadcasting


Creative Director

Bret Havey

Marco Vitali

Blake Spiers


Executive Producer

Bret Havey - TBS

Entertainment / TV

Marco Vitali

Tom Thumb


Executive Music Producer

Marco Vitali / Sonic Lens 

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