Silent But Deadly


I hope everyone had a good week! It’s always tough coming back to work after a long weekend, but at least long weekends make for short weeks.
For many people, TV helps to get them through the workweek. Whether its nightly Jeopardy, playoff basketball or hockey, or some other bingeworthy show, most people would be able to point to something to help pass time during the workweek (or even sometimes the weekends).
As of recently, for me, that’s been the show Succession.
And it seems like everyone else is either watching the finale, or starting the show, which begs the question: “where did all the hype come from?”

To The Land Of Publicity

Putting on my marketing and PR hat, I decided to look into some of the strategies that shows, products, and even people use to become top of mind.
Because as much as you like to think you ignore the targeted Instagram and Facebook ads, you really can’t.
When you’re trying to sell something, it really boils down to two scenarios. Scenario 1, where what it is you are selling is inherently viral and needs little to no marketing/publicity, and Scenario 2, where there is a significant marketing push needed to generate sales.
Things like Tiger King and fidget spinners are perfect examples for Scenario 1, and there’s not much more to them. So, let’s focus on things that do need the promotion.

Oh, How The Times Have Changed

Marketing used to be really easy. Like really, really easy.
Everyone’s eyes and attention were in one of two places: cable TV and newspapers. So, all marketers had to do was come up with a very average ad and then rerun it as much as the budget would allow to pound it into the consumers head.
Nowadays, it’s much harder and as a result, competition is much stiffer.
There are over 200 streaming services and the newspaper has been replaced by 20 other news platforms. Some people have Netflix, but not AppleTV. Some people have both, but don’t have Hulu or HBO. Some companies have been made strictly using Facebook ads, while others rely solely on Instagram or YouTube. A select few people still use cable.
You get the point. The attention is divided, making marketing and advertising much more of a balancing act.

Back To Succession

So, what did Succession do to get my attention?
They used a bunch of these new strategies. Out with the old, in with the new. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still see the actors on late night talk shows, but that is just a minor blip in what marketing involves today.

  • Podcasts: As I mentioned, content has become widely diversified, and podcasts are one of the mediums that have absolutely exploded. HBO has paid dozens of podcasts to do a long-form episode reviews full of spoilers, fan theories, reactions, etc. all driving more people to watch it.
  • Influencers: Like it or not, influencers have taken over the number one spot in terms of persuasiveness. They have built trust with their audience, often over long periods of time, so the mere mention of something like Succession will pique their audience’s interest and lead them to watch it. Not to mention, all of the actors and actresses on the show are influencers themselves either from the show in focus, or other features, and can self-promote the show.
  • Suggested Posts: You know how I said the actors and actresses are all influencers? Well, the production company can actually pay Instagram and Facebook to push their posts more in the “Suggested Posts” category. So next time you think running across a post like this is coincidental? It’s likely not.

  • Jeopardy: A perfect example of how cable TV is still utilized, but not how it used to be. Instead of a commercial, the show will sponsor an entire column in Jeopardy where all of the answers are related.
Bottom line is, they’re trying to be more subtle. Instead of unashamedly going on a publicity rampage and a slew of late-night talk shows, they want to make it look effortless, because then it would come off as “word of mouth”, making the show appear better than it actually is


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All To The Demise Of Good Movies

These new marketing strategies are good, probably too good. Which has created some metric imbalances.
Everything has, and always will be, based on views. The number of views is the gold standard indicator of how good something was. But I don’t think it should be anymore.
For example, The Shawshank Redemption, arguably one of the best movies ever, sold just over 18 million tickets (aka views). While Selling Sunset got 14.5 million views the day of its premier. Yes, just one day.
And yes, The Shawshank Redemption was released in theaters, which is much less accessible than Netflix which is available anytime and anywhere. But still, the difference is staggering.
This shift in accessibility and marketing has resulted in big production offices pushing worse movies more frequently (quantity), more than focusing on well thought out and produced features (quality). Making people believe that older movies are better than newer ones, and an irreversible regression from good films
To which I say, I agree. Unless it’s anything made by Christopher Nolan.
So do everyone a favor, go to Blockbuster, and rent an oldy but a goody this weekend.
Let’s have ourselves a weekend!

from, matt

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