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Shows advertisers avoid


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I wanted to mention this blurb in yesterday's WO.com update:

 

--Media Life surveyed media buyers and said the shows advertisers avoid are Wrestling, Jerry Springer Law & Order SVU, Cops, Reno 911, Sex and the City, South Park, Family Guy, TMZ, Desperate Housewives, Maury, Two-and-a-Half Men, Simpsons, syndicated court shows, Cashmere Mafia, Dexter, American Gladiators, Nip/Tuck, A Shot at Love and Rescue Me.

A number of dudes - myself included - have had to shoot down the delusions of fans who talk about how thus-and-such wrestling show could never be in jeopardy because they get high ratings, ignoring that it is not the ratings but the ad rates that actually make TV shows money, and ad men tend to avoid wrestling like the plague. But....The Simpsons? Desperate Housewives? Law & Order: SVU? I don't know if it's indicative of anything, or even how valid the survey is...but it's something that struck me as interesting, and something that may be worth keeping in mind in the future.

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I wanted to mention this blurb in yesterday's WO.com update:

 

--Media Life surveyed media buyers and said the shows advertisers avoid are Wrestling, Jerry Springer Law & Order SVU, Cops, Reno 911, Sex and the City, South Park, Family Guy, TMZ, Desperate Housewives, Maury, Two-and-a-Half Men, Simpsons, syndicated court shows, Cashmere Mafia, Dexter, American Gladiators, Nip/Tuck, A Shot at Love and Rescue Me.

A number of dudes - myself included - have had to shoot down the delusions of fans who talk about how thus-and-such wrestling show could never be in jeopardy because they get high ratings, ignoring that it is not the ratings but the ad rates that actually make TV shows money, and ad men tend to avoid wrestling like the plague. But....The Simpsons? Desperate Housewives? Law & Order: SVU? I don't know if it's indicative of anything, or even how valid the survey is...but it's something that struck me as interesting, and something that may be worth keeping in mind in the future.

 

 

I would guess the Simpsons made it on the list since it's been on the air for a million years and advertisers may be thinking Fox might pull the plug on the show. Or maybe because it gets pre-empted so much during football season.

 

The rest would have to be due to content. I can see an advertiser shying away from SVU. Who wants to be the commercial seen when they stop for a break in the middle of a story about child rape.

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The Simpsons' cockroach-like tenacity seems like it should be a mark in it's favor.

 

The thing is, if ad rates are the lifeblood of a TV show - and they are - it would stand to reason that these shows would be more of a threat to get axed than they actually are. But The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, SVU, South Park...these are shows that aren't going anywhere any time soon. Not shows constantly under the gun like wrestling programs often seem to be. I mean, there are different reasons for avoidance. Wrestling's big problem has always been the low income audience they draw more than anything else. With SVU, it might be the content, but they're drawing a more upscale audience. Still, money is money, and you'd think if ad men weren't keen on these shows, it would be more of an issue than it seems to be. Obviously, there's more factors at play here than the survey mentions, and I still don't know if it means anything or if there's some kind of lesson to be taken away from it. Something just doesn't seem to fit here. Perhaps the lesson of 2008 will be learned when the WWE figures out what they're doing wrong that The Simpsons are doing right.

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http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artman2/p...isers_avoid.asp

 

Social mores evolve, as do consumer tastes and the boundaries of what's acceptable in media. But when it comes to advertisers there's little that changes.

 

Sex, violence and dirty talk remain big turnoffs, and many will go out of their way to avoid having their spots run on TV shows that feature any of the three.

 

And the shows that turned off advertisers three or six years ago still turn off advertisers, and leading that list is "Jerry Springer," the daytime chat show in which couples often go at each other with foul language and fists.

 

That's the finding of a Media Life survey of media planners and buyers that was posted earlier this week asking readers to identity the Dirty Dozen, the TV shows their clients were most inclined to avoid.

 

Other shows advertisers are inclined to avoid are wrestling, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Cops," "Reno 911," "Sex and the City," "South Park, "Family Guy," "TMZ," the new syndicated gossip show, "Desperate Housewives," "Maury," "Two and a Half Men," "The Simpsons," the syndicated court shows, "Cashmere Mafia," "Dexter," "American Gladiators," "Nip/Tuck," "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" and "Rescue Me."

 

Now compare that to the results of a similar survey last year: "Jerry Springer," "Cops," "Nip/Tuck," "America's Most Wanted," "Family Guy," "WWE," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Desperate Housewives," "The War at Home," "Sex and the City," ABC's "Primetime," "Maury," "The Shield," "The Girls Next Door" and "Two and a Half Men."

 

Now compare that to 2001: wrestling, "Temptation Island," "South Park," "Jerry Springer," "Howard Stern," "Jackass," "Politically Incorrect," "America's Most Wanted," "Cops," "Dr. Laura," "The Man Show" and "Ally McBeal."

 

This year, as in prior years, the biggest turnoff was sexual content. Asked to choose what would raise red flags with advertisers, and told they could choose more than one, 62 percent of respondents chose sex. Last year sex came in at 60 percent.

 

Not far behind this year was obscene language, at 57 percent. Last year it came in at 51 percent.

 

And right behind was violence, at 54 percent. Last year it came in at 37 percent.

 

But interestingly, right up there was "Unpredictability of guests and/or topics" at 51 percent. Last year it also came in at 51 percent.

 

That explains why talk shows are often avoided. Even though advertisers may like the show, and even admire the host, say Oprah Winfrey, they'll take a pass because they never know who's going to be on and what they might say.

 

A lot of the shows go into topics that would be considered taboo around a dinner table, including "Oprah.”

 

Another big turnoff: shows likely to anger consumers. That came in at 51 percent as well. Last year it came in at 40 percent.

 

What scored relatively low on the reasons for avoiding a show? Previous criticism by a family watchdog group.

 

For all the furor those groups can stir up, advertisers apparently don't seem to pay much attention. Just 32 percent of respondents cited that as a reason for avoiding a show. Last year it was at 26 percent.

 

Another relative low-scorer: mature content on a young-skewing show, also at 32 percent. Last year it came in at 34 percent.

 

Obviously, some advertisers are far more concerned about their ads appearing amid dicey content than others. And it turns out the most sensitive in that regard are the big packaged-goods advertisers, toy companies and those that strive to present a family-friendly image, as well as car makers, banks and retailers.

 

The least concerned about where there ads appear are younger-skewing advertisers, clubs, lawyers, beer, movies, direct-response and cell phones.

 

Media Life readers believe the big turnoff shows are most likely to be on cable, and by a wide margin, 68 percent of respondents. Some 19 percent chose broadcast, while 13 percent thought syndication.

 

Last year it was cable at 57 percent, broadcast at 17 percent and syndication at 20 percent.

 

On broadcast, Fox is the network with shows most likely to offend advertisers, in the eyes of a third of the respondents. ABC and MyNetworkTV tie for a distant second at 11 percent. CBS and NBC both score zeros.

 

Last year, Fox scored 58 percent, MyNetworkTV 6 percent and ABC 3 percent. CBS and NBC came in at 3 percent.

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Interesting. So the concern was not, in fact, that wrestling appealed to broke hillbillies, but just that the content of the shows were too racy/violent/foul/whatever?

 

Still leaves me wondering how a show like The Simpsons can seemingly live forever despite low ad rates. At least wrestling has never used TV for the core of it's income.

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I'm shocked Two-and-a-Half Men and American Gladiators made the list simply because they receive(d) consistently high ratings. You think some advertisers would take a chance just because of their high level of viewership.

 

Besides, the subject matter on both isn't near as intense as Law & Order:SVU. Two-and-a-Half Men's biggest issue is that it features real life weirdo Charlie Sheen as the cool scumbag uncle with a bit of a heart. As far as Gladiators, is it perceived as a "redneck" show? Because, as far as violence goes, everything is presented in a pretty safe manner and the safety of the athletes is clearly a focus. I'm sure viewership demographics range across a number of age groups due to the unsual nature of the show. When it first debuted, it was a hot subject at my workplace and most of the people I work with are late 30s to mid 50s.

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Is there a way to promote wrestling in a way where it would appeal to a more upscale audience?

I think so.

 

More consistent ans less sensationalist charcters, with more detailed and less predictable storylines. I kind of see it as less heels and faces, and more characters, like a drama that unfolds. The wrestling itself would be more competition like, but there'd be motivations for every match that went beyond 'you attacked me last week'.

 

Think Eddie/Rey at Summerslam, but more detailed segments, with both guys expressing their point of view, and talking to other characters about the feud.

 

Less heel and face turns, do it gradually, have a guy go bad because his wife has left him and he's losing the plot. He can't cope without her and becomes bitter, and hates people with perfect lifes, and people turn against him.

 

More classy arenas with a different kind of set.

 

That would be my vision anyway, fuck knows whether it's work.

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Is there a way to promote wrestling in a way where it would appeal to a more upscale audience? I think there probably is, but no one has thought of it yet, as it would really take sort of a reinventing of the wheel.

On one hand, wrestling seems like such a base form of entertainment that I'd say it's impossible. On the other hand, the Super Bowl is the Holy Grail for advertising. And football wasn't always at that level of popularity. Maybe if Meltzer would stop getting so hung up on MMA or boxing or competitive video gaming or whatever and start focusing on how the NFL is pro wrestling, we'd figure out how to get wrestling to that level. Come on, Bob Sapp's fighting style was "NFL". And he was the runner-up for wrestler of the year in 2002. Coincidence, Dave? I think not! No wonder Watts was so good.

 

I think so.

 

More consistent ans less sensationalist charcters, with more detailed and less predictable storylines. I kind of see it as less heels and faces, and more characters, like a drama that unfolds. The wrestling itself would be more competition like, but there'd be motivations for every match that went beyond 'you attacked me last week'.

 

Think Eddie/Rey at Summerslam, but more detailed segments, with both guys expressing their point of view, and talking to other characters about the feud.

 

Less heel and face turns, do it gradually, have a guy go bad because his wife has left him and he's losing the plot. He can't cope without her and becomes bitter, and hates people with perfect lifes, and people turn against him.

 

More classy arenas with a different kind of set.

 

That would be my vision anyway, fuck knows whether it's work.

There are a lot of right ideas here.

 

I'm doing a "Quest for the Whitest Match Ever" project at Segunda Caida, and in one entry of that, I wrote this about "Hollywood wrestling":

 

So this is basically the anti-UWA, being basically the whitest possible Hollywood wrestling promotion. Tom already went over the problems inherent in Hollywood wrestling, and most of them are present here, save for the fact that it's Calgary, and so there is a history of white audiences attending wrestling shows. It's a style that I do think has it's strengths, though. Nobody ever talks about them, probably because no one has ever successfully utilized them, except for actual successful wrestling promotions. As really, there's a logic to approaching a wrestling show like any other TV show, and when you look at your more successful promotions' runs over the years, they tend tend to happen when they're doing this, consciously or otherwise, while keeping in mind that the show is in the wrestling genre. You have your show's big, popular "star" or handful of stars around whom everything revolves, compelling antagonists, a focus on traditional storytelling, a roster that the audience connects to as characters, and a general thematic connection between everything going on in the show. Hollywood wrestling promotions put a premium on all these things, and in theory, that should make them conducive to quality wrestling and/or money drawing wrestling. In practice, that never happens, because they're always run by people who don't know shit from shinola with regards to the wrestling genre, and they're usually not that talented to begin with, anyway. So would seem to be the case with Matrats.

Kinda disagree with you about "less predictable storylines" for reasons that I've gone on at great length about elsewhere and that no one wants to see me rehash here. Kinda disagree with "not faces and heels, but characters", though I see what you're getting at. Personally, would rephrase that as "heels and faces, who are characters", but yeah. Not sure how WWE would pull of "more classy arenas". But otherwise think you're looking in the right direction. There's a definite logic to approaching a wrestling TV show as "a TV show about a wrestling promotion", rather than a direct simulation of a fictional sports promotion's broadcast. But it would require someone with both a strong understanding of presenting fiction on TV in general AND the wrestling genre in general. Not sure if there's anyone quite like that who wouldn't fall back on wrestling's business as usual or the excesses of Hollywood wrestling.

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