Thursday, January 10, 2002
And, the marketers are starting to take Hernani's points to heart. Look at network television, the pinnacle forum for mass-market advertising. As TV critic David Bianculli recently observed on NPR's Fresh Air (Jan. 4 show, Real Audio file available here), "On broadcast TV meanwhile, they're taking at least a few lessons from cable...[O]n all the networks, quirky, entertaining new shows - such as Undeclared, Scrubs, Alias and Smallville - are succeeding by thinking more like cable. Instead of trying to program shows that will appeal to everyone, the networks are presenting well-made series that are more likely to please some of the people some of the time. And in this new century, in this era of narrow casting and a fragmented TV universe, that's really the best way to succeed." Whether or not you agree that Mr. Bianculli's examples are "entertaining" or "well-made," there's no denying they depart from what has come to be the mainstream, and the Gonzo Marketing ramifications are clear. If even the media conglomerates are starting to recognize and program for narrower markets, sponsors had better take heed as well. If they don't, they'll miss the chance to connect with viewers intrinsically drawn to their product or service, while paying for spots that will be shown to entire audiences who probably could care less (think VasoRect and The Screen Savers - she deadpanned).