Changes are a foot for the next season of American Idol, and they start with the marketing, which TPTB promise will be “more real”, “more raw” and “more intimate”
From TV Week:
But after playing up the notion of …Idol contestants as outsized personalities in last year pre-launch promotional campaign, Fox marketing chief Joe Earley has decided to scale things back for season eight.
The changes to the marketing, which come in the wake of a 9% decline in …Idol ratings in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic last season, are in part a reflection of some of the expected tweaks to …Idol next season, Mr. Earley explained.
…The show is more real, it back to its roots, he said. …It doesnt have a veneer.
Mike Darnell, Fox president of alternative programming, said it too soon to offer specifics about the changes in the works. He did say, however, that …Idol would be …more intimate and …more raw than last year.
…It going back to letting the kids be more emotional and seeing more of their reality, he said. …Were going to allow the public to see a little more of their emotional state.
Overall, he said there …are subtle changes and there are bigger-than-subtle changes. But I wouldnt call anything ‹radical.ƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬
More episodes of the kids competing in the grueling Hollywood round would be a good start. The pre-performance video packages could be edited to reveal more about the contestant’s personalities. It’s all good, as long as the “raw emotion” isn’t manipulated or manufactured.
Mr. Darnell said that on a scale of one to 10, his excitement level regarding the tweaks to the show ranks at an 8.
…And Im a 9 when it comes to the talent, he added. …We just got done with Hollywood Week, and the talent and the characters we have are the best since season five.
Eh. When have TPTB ever said, “This year’s talent really sucks!”. The ratings may have peaked during Season 5, which is why Darnell makes the comparison, but I’m not convinced that the talent peaked as well.h
To fit with the more intimate feel of …Idol, the marketing for the 2009 model of the show will be more down-to-earth, although Mr. Earley said the network will be spending a little bit more than it did last year.
…Last year, we had contestants reaching a level of perceived stardom much earlier, both in the show and in our marketing campaign, Mr. Earley said. …We made them look great; the concept was that they had arrived. But looking back, we think that maybe it was too soon to have them arrive. This year, we wanted to make sure we started out with real people.
Gone, then, are the images of Godzilla-sized generic …Idol contestants Fox used last year to push the idea that the show created overnight celebrities. Instead, look for print ads that speak to the notion that the next …American Idol could be anyone’ a waitress, a cowboy, a single mom.
…or a member of a famous musical family or former Miss New York USA.?
…Were putting our models (in the print campaign) in the real world, Mr. Earley said. …The hope is to convey that within all these everyday people there is an ‹Idol. It takes it to a more relatable place.
Last year ads were accompanied by the tagline …Dream Big, a phrase that played off the outsized show. The motto for …Idol this season is the more grassroots-themed …Share Your Voice.
TPTB can “market” all they want, but I think the biggest boost for rating this coming season will be the success of their Top 2. When the Davids are all over the charts in the coming months, people are going to want to tune in.
Dressing up the same ole same ole in a shiny, new package, maybe not so much…