A Planet Green Washout & The Boss's Biz Advice

By Frank Ahrens

In the there-must-be-a-metaphor-in-here-somewhere department, Discovery Communication's big promotion for the launch of its Planet Green channel Wednesday night at Nationals Park ..... got washed out by the thunderstorms that swept through the region.

Planet Green promos played on the ballpark's wraparound second-deck video display, while green-clad Discovery employees capered in two suites, eating green M&Ms. It was all pegged to the Wednesday night conversion of the Discovery Home channel to the Planet Green channel. (Also Wednesday, Discovery crossed the last hurdle to becoming a publicly traded company.)

The Nationals were set to wear green caps during last night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, but the festivities never got that far. The torrential downpour scotched the contest and Discovery and the Nationals will try the whole shebang again at Monday's game versus the San Francisco Giants.

The rain did little to dampen the spirits of the party in the luxury suites, however.

Discovery chief executive David Zaslav, who took over the company in January 2007 after coming from NBC Universal, wore a Nationals jersey with his name on the back.

So did celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, who had just come from a Whole Foods in Virginia, where he was filming a cooking show for the new channel.

Honorary Nats: David Zaslaw, left, with Emeril Lagasse

Eileen O'Neill, Planet Green's president and general manager, nodded to the monsoon raging outside, sending the Nationals grounds crew scrambling to tarp the infield, and noted, "This is a reminder that Mother Nature is still in charge."

Also milling about was Andrew Lack, chairman of Sony BMG, one of the Big Four music companies and a close friend of Zaslav's. Heading a bunch of record labels comes with some perks, Zaslav noted.

Zaslav told a story about getting a call recently from Lack, inviting Zaslav and his wife to dine with some other couples in New York.

The other couples turned out to be "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife and Bruce Springsteen and his wife, singer Patti Scialfa, also a Sony BMG artist.

The Boss ended up offering Zaslav a little brand-building advice.

After Lack and Stewart held forth at length about the art and craft of persuasion, Springsteen interjected in his gravely voice: "You've got make people fall in love," he said, according to Zaslav's account at Nationals Park last night. That's what he tries to do when he writes a song, Springsteen said.

Springsteen then referred to the recent Discovery/BCC series, "Planet Earth," noting that it made people fall in love with the planet.

Bruce Springsteen: Legendary rocker, brand consultant.

By Dan Beyers  |  June 5, 2008; 2:03 PM ET
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