American Idol: Winning Hearts of the Younger Demo, One Soapsud at a Time

The median age of the Idol audience has risen every year–currently it’s 40 years old. In light of the troubling news–the advertisers crave those young eyeballs–the brain trust at Idol have come up with an, uhm, interesting idea to capture the attention of the young ones.

The LA Times’ Richard Rushfield received a press release from the Idol folks:

Loads of Good Clean Fun!

AMERICAN IDOL is cleaning up in the ratings this season and FOX is sending a big thank you to college students across the country with free laundry detergent for loads of good clean fun!   On Tuesday, February 3, college students on select college campuses across the country will receive free AMERICAN IDOL laundry detergent via AMERICAN IDOL street teams.

College students are a big part of AMERICAN IDOLà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s success as they make the show a priority time and time again à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ perhaps causing their laundry to suffer!   As if quarter-hungry washing machines and mismatched socks werenà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t enough for the starving studentà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s budget, weà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢re making things a little bit easier and curing those laundry blues with complimentary AMERICAN IDOL detergent boxes.

Be there as college students receive their free AMERICAN IDOL detergent, and hear what they have to say as they continue to soak up the exciting new season of AMERICAN IDOL!

Do you think free detergent will convince your average college student that American Idol isn’t the lamest lame that ever lamed?   I’m predicting epic fail!

Ha, they’ll be dropping by my neighborhood–Boston College–on February 3rd.

  • Jolene

    LMAO!
    Worst idea ever.

  • wjmtv

    That’s it, I’m going into marketing. I have ideas at least as stupid as this about 10 times a day, and I’m not getting paid for them.

  • ilovetohateai

    well, what do you expect from american idol?

  • CathyMK

    Has anyone ever done anything in order to get free LAUNDRY DETERGENT? :doh_tb: They couldn’t give away free Cokes instead? I wonder if this is part of the reason for David Cook’s college tour as well.

  • primeminister

    Do you think free detergent will convince your average college student that American Idol isnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t the lamest lame that ever lamed? Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m predicting epic fail!

    College student here! I’ll take the free detergent! :)

  • cheese

    That’s hilarious and completely wtf? I would have taken the free laundry detergent as a college student, sure, but they could have come up with something cooler. How about a plant?

    (Coolest thing I ever got randomly handed to me for promotional purposes – a stuffed tribble from my local Fox affiliate to promote the Star Trek TNG tribble episode)

  • carolincarolina

    Humm. And now David Cook’s college tour makes perfect sense. Maybe he will be throwing laundry detergent into the audience instead of guitar picks? LOL

  • kozisedso

    wjmtv
    Jan 31st, 2009 at 11:25 am
    Thatà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s it, Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m going into marketing. I have ideas at least as stupid as this about 10 times a day, and Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m not getting paid for them.

    Me too! We can start our own marketing/pr company. On first read, I also wondered if there was a tie-in with David Cook’s tour. Hmmmmmmmmm.

  • bean99

    I’m sure they’ll take the detergent but doubt bribery (of sorts) will turn college students onto AI. I have 2 of them and they’d never dream of listening to any AI alumni’s music. One of them sings and I can’t even get him to think of trying out and we live in the Dallas area.

  • Lera

    Well many college student’s thinks AI is gay! They are not watching the show and could careless about it.

    You have the pre-teens, and the 30 and up crowd watching. High School kids generally think the show is gay also. It doesn’t matter if the contestant that won is good or not, they have the AI label so they automatically don’t like them.

    This is what I’ve noticed in my area anyway. I’m sure not all but with AI demographic studies, it seems what is going on where I live is a good sample of everywhere.

  • poporange

    Hmm maybe if the producers throw in doing thier laundry and cooking a meal for a week I will go for that…

    ..American Idol label like an ALbatrose around the contestants neck which can be good or bad.

  • jan

    Wow mj, Boston College is your neighborhood – what a beautiful neighborhood that is! Go Eagles!

  • cat

    I predict that this will be an utter failure as a marketing ploy, but that there will be a massive bidding war on ebay for the boxes of detergent as collectibles.

  • Ladybug

    I have several nieces and nephews in the exact demo Idol wants. Without exception they all think the show is lame and over. A few of them actually used to watch it, but no more.

    Yeah. I am certain laundry soap will convince them to totally take up watching Idol again. :rolleyes_wp:

  • Tatiana

    What a stupid idea! If FOX really wants to attract this demo, I have some ideas:

    *Make the theme weeks current – PAY to use relevant music from the ’90’s – 00’s. Not retread music from the 60’s. No themes that have nothing to do with music you’d see today on Fuse, MTV, or CMT. Mentors should be relevant to today’s music scene (Alicia Keys, John Legend, Pink?? Why not Kelly Clarkson??).

    *Incorporate the audience more in the program – not just the voting, but there should be more social media tie-ins and interactive elements. How about letting the audience vote for each contestant’s song choice one week as the theme? On “Top Chef” the other night they had viewer’s text comments about the show as the crawl on the bottom of the screen and conducted on-screen polls throughout the show – it was so much fun to watch and fits into the way young people consume media.

    *The show overall would just need to be edgier. Maybe the Idol House can help here??

    Anyway, if they do all these things the show may be fresher, but they may then risk alienating older viewers…

  • soundscene

    :mellow_tb:

    Uh….

    Hmmm….

    Lame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=587900002&ref=name cruzceleste

    As a member of that demo, I will said they wont win me with soap, maybe my mon but not me…maybe if they use beer or tequila…

  • hypertwink

    If they’re trying to bribe college kids to watch the show, why not make it a hard bribe to resist? A contest for college kids, like a 500/1000 dollar prize a week or something. It may not be cool but when I was in college, I never turn down free money.

  • weareallinnocent

    maybe if they use beer or tequilaà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ¦

    LOL Agreed! I’m not in the demo, but I believe beer and tequila are *timeless*. And, I’m legal. ;-P

    What I appreciate most about this blog entry is the title, which I assume is an mj original. Bravo!

  • m5carolin

    I’m a college student completly obsessed with Idol. Most of my friends already make fun of me for watching Idol, I’ll never hear the end of it now. Seriously…LAUNDRY DETERGENT? Bad idea.

    Let’s see…go get some free idol laundry detergent or pick up Melinda’s debut album? I choose Melinda.

  • Tatiana

    If theyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢re trying to bribe college kids to watch the show, why not make it a hard bribe to resist? A contest for college kids, like a 500/1000 dollar prize a week or something. It may not be cool but when I was in college, I never turn down free money.

    This is a good idea! Or they could even do a “College Idol” competition. Have one winner from each campus, and then finalists could each submit one performance to be voted on on the american idol website. The winner could win scholarship money.

  • Tony

    I’m a college student. I’m a fervent fan of American Idol. Just hours ago, I ran out of detergent doing a load of laundry (and added it to my grocery list).

    Would I accept American Idol-branded laundry detergent? LMAO. My friend would burn me at the stake. It’s bad enough they know that I watch it…but to WASH with it? That’s probably crossing a line somewhere….

    This would definitely be a hit with the females, I assume. But I’m a guy….so, it’s different :)

  • frogcooke

    “(Coolest thing I ever got randomly handed to me for promotional purposes – a stuffed tribble from my local Fox affiliate to promote the Star Trek TNG tribble episode)”

    *jealous*

    and seriously…

    lamest idea…

    EVAR!

  • CathyMK

    This would definitely be a hit with the females, I assume. But Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m a guyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ¦.so, ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s different :)

    Well, I’m a female, and a love of laundry detergent has never motivated me. Now if they start giving away free Fords to college students, I may have to go back for another degree.

  • HighOnElliott

    This sounds more like something they would’ve done in the 1950’s for the Little Mrs.

    Can you say Desperate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=587900002&ref=name cruzceleste

    I agree the idea of giving money, or maybe Idols cds… after all they are selling the music isn ´t …

    If they want younger people to turn on is easy, choose current music and teachers who are new, and made it cool to see to program… if it not, I bet all those college students have better things to do that watch tv, I mean I only watch about 4 hour of tv at the week (Criminal Minds, House, CSI…Maybe brothers & Sister if I feel like it), I raether use my time in Internet, reading, hanging out with my friends or at work… so I don ´t think college student are going to run to turn on the tv for any program any time soon ( or they maybe if they do Wild On Idol, E! or Girls Next Goor Idol)…

  • abbysee

    How wound one measure the efficacy of said promotion?

  • jersey

    Maybe they should offer an American Idol Board game for college students, instead. Complete with shot glasses and rules. Every time Randy says “Dawg” – drink. That way you ensure they watch! LOL.

    This is a pretty lame idea. Hopefully they didn’t pick colleges where most of the kids go home for the weekend to do their laundry!

  • Dr. Tracey

    College students……….hence a college tour LOL

    laundry detergent? seriously?

  • Michelle

    I really, really don’t get the tie-in. Did someone order a bunch of laundry soap by mistake?

    Oh man, I want one of those tribbles cheese got!!!