Posts Tagged ‘Burn Notice’

As we know, there are plenty of niche products that actually embrace a sophomoric approach to their marketing. Usually this is a product targeted towards young men. They sometimes engage in a sexism not seen since the 60’s. The spots are supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. Think about the new-ish Dr. Pepper 10, trying to avoid the stigma of a diet soda but still depicting itself as a reduced calorie refreshment. They chose the 80’s action movie stereotypes to make a loopy attempt to pass themselves off as a macho option to diet drinks. (“I’m manly enough to handle 10 calories!”) It’s a grey area for launching a product, to be sure, but at least the campaign doesn’t offend anyone.

Old Spice was fairly successful when Mad Men was just breaking as a hot entertainment topic by producing a series of spots featuring Bruce Campbell. Campbell, a B-Movie Icon and co-star of the long popular Burn Notice, spoofed up the smoking jacket wearing, smug, hero of old. They were fun but the appeal to a younger audience probably didn’t materialize. Old Spice has since moved to Terry Crewes as a spokesperson and taken things in a more outrageous vein to bring in that younger market share.

So, for the most part, we expect a certain attitude in marketing in regards to certain products and we acknowledge or ignore them depending on where we fall in the net they are casting. I think we agree that frat boy humor integrated into your product marketing is not something that would be seen in something aimed at women exclusively or a general audience. Then why would you decide it was exactly what’s needed in promoting your ice cream product?

Apparently Klondike thinks so. They have a nationally televised spot where a husband has to listen to his wife describe her day in order to win a Klondike Bar. It’s played up to the hilt in a way you probably haven’t seen since Al Bundy trudged on-screen in Married With Children. (With a history that goes much farther back though.) I’ve seen this spot elicit a chuckle from some men and universal groans from women. Why would you alienate half or more of your potential customers? They’re not trying to say this is a niche product from the company just for men. It’s part of their overall and somewhat long running series of “What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar?” media spots. They are usually outrageous but bring about a smile at best. Merely an impression garnered so that when you actually see the product you’re hopefully more enticed to pick one up. For the company to actually get more than a cursory reaction to a spot is probably rare and of all the ones to have show up on people’s radar.

“Any publicity is good publicity” is not a reality any longer. (Just ask BP or Rupert Murdock.) While Klondike is hardly in any trouble, it’s enough of a tipping point to show a sales shift. Do you want to be the one to own up to having a treat enjoyed by a general audience passed by merely because your competition didn’t offend half the population? There are places you can be edgy or even sexist. Ice cream is not one of those places.

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I’m lamenting the passing of my Monday night of television. For me it was the best night to watch. It just lined up right and I didn’t have to DVR much. But now that Chuck is done and Castle just finished (maybe forever) and 24 ends next week, that’s it. (Your favorite day may differ depending on mileage and taste.)

This brings up a question for the major TV networks: Where do your viewers go when their favorites (Days, shows, seasons, years) are no longer on? Cable has figured this out. MTV no longer shows music videos and barely contains a connection to music anymore. But they’ve spun off a host of MTV channels to appeal to the viewers of all of their evolutionary eras. So has VH1. (Which is where you’ll really go to see music videos. OK, not current ones.) Cartoon network has done the same thing. They have totally original programming on the main channel now. If you want to watch The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest or Justice League Unlimited you can go to Boomerang. (I say you because I don’t think many of today’s kids are watching the oldies. Maybe when Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls or Teen Titans are on, but not before.) Nickelodeon has both Noggin for preschoolers and Nicktoons for 24 hr saturation of their patented brand of watered down John Krickafalusi inspired wackiness. Disney performed the inverse and has stuff to compete with Nick on Disney XD.

Encore’s suite of niche movie channels frequently raids old television vaults for programming. (Not complaining. As a matter of fact, they could spin off totally new channels with nothing but old programs for Westerns and Detectives and I’d probably watch.)

The thing here is that the networks are losing ground. Because of that and the current economy, they have a tougher bottom line. (How else to explain 5 nights of prime time Leno?) But they continue to fight a losing battle with cable by greenlighting niche programming when it doesn’t bring in enough numbers to justify it. They cancel the shows and alienate audiences who find what they’re looking for by watching Burn Notice, Monk, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck and Stargate Universe. That’s just the ones that fall into the golden demographic of 18-34. What marketing has taught us (though not apparently the major networks) is that: There’s plenty of money to be made in the young crowd. (Look at how all the family movies clean up at the cinema. The kids don’t drive themselves there.) There’s plenty to be made from the boomers as well. (Tons of studies show their buying power continues to be a major force.)

So why is the only diversification going on either the news channels from NBC or the family channel from ABC (Really Disney)? Why doesn’t CBS have its own mystery channel? It’s demographics clearly show that theres a market for it. Think of all the shows CBS has run through the years. (Yeah, they don’t own them all. So they have to pay for some just like anyone else would. It’s still found revenue compared. They’re not funding new shows for the ad dollars.) Why doesn’t NBC have it’s own comedy channel?

The networks are so obsessed with the game of new seasons and ratings that they’ve let the easy money slip through their fingers. (And they’re still losing money in the process.)