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Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Save Jericho: Partnering with the Monster

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

They did the impossible.

They did what everyone said could not be done.

The Jericho Rangers pulled off the largest fan protest in history and got CBS to renew Jericho for seven episodes next season. And better yet, they convinced CBS that the monster would be much easier to partner with than to fight.

Nina Tassler’s message to the Jericho fans sums up that partnership:
We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.
While not a formal partnership, CBS is clearly engaging the services of the monster to spread the message of the show. Partnering with the monster can be a roller coaster ride, because the monster is unpredictable, powerful, and very difficult to control. But it’s a heck of a lot safer than trying to fight it, so good for CBS.

If the fans want another season past these seven episodes, they’re going to have to grow the fan base. Whining that the Nielsen Ratings aren’t accurate (they’re not) won’t do anything to change the fact that Nielsen Ratings are what advertisers base the amount they’re willing to pay for air time. That’s just the rules of the game. Arguing about the accuracy of ratings is like arguing balls and strikes in baseball. It’s not going to get you anywhere. If the ratings are the same during this next season, it won’t matter how many Innertube and DVR viewings there are – the show will get cut and it won’t be back. Even if the fans can get the methodology of Nielsen Ratings changed, it will be years before that has an effect on agreements with advertisers. Money talks, the rest walks.

But look at what they accomplished in a mere 3 weeks! The monster has all summer to get ready for the next battle. They need to take that energy and focus it on spreading the word. A brief rest will be inevitable. Many of the fans are now exhausted, and after the period of elation they’re going to come down. The challenge to the movement will be to get everybody focused again in the near future and working together for a new goal.

I suggest you go back read my article “Save Jericho: Tactical Marketing.” What it said about the original campaign is now even truer. This really is a campaign to sell a product; it’s no longer just a good analogy. And your segments are pretty much the same. Go find the fans that didn’t know it was canceled, turn them into Rangers, and recruit a ton of new viewers. You’re no longer just a protest movement. You’re a virtual company with a product to sell.

So how do I think this partnership should work? Whatever suggestions I offer will no doubt be quickly eclipsed by what the monster comes up with, so I’ll try to keep things general. These are just my humble offerings.

For a partnership to work, it has to be a two way street. Both parties have to have skin in the game. CBS won’t be able to control the monster, but the monster should be prepared to work with CBS as much as possible. I think the first thing the fans should do is set up a non-profit corporation to promote the cause. Create an official fan club. This will make it easier for CBS, because they’re going to be wary of the legal complications of dealing with individuals and tax situations for some of the things I’m going to propose. I’ll bet there’s a Ranger that’s a lawyer that can set things up for them pro-bono.

So far, the monster has been pretty good at raising money. Just look at all the cash that went into the Nuts campaign. It’s not much money by CBS’s standards, but it’s grassroots money, which has a different kind of power. The fan club should provide options for the fans to support different programs through donations – the individuals can control what their money will support, but there will be one nice legal and clean way to administer all this. This will give the movement much greater credibility – I suspect they missed out on quite a bit of funding because people were unsure of sending money to individuals and how it might be accounted for.

Here’s the good part. Ask CBS to match funds. This is fairly standard thing in marketing partnerships. CBS gets a huge bang for their buck in advertising, and the fact that it’s being matched will cause more people to donate. CBS shouldn’t interfere in what the fans decide to do with the money – just let the monster go its way and they’ll come up with something that 100 Marketing VPs would never dream of.

I’m going to offer a few tactical options for the monster, but I’m not going to offer any priorities. That’s up to the monster.

First, everything they did before they need to do again. Hit every blog and comment and digg the favorable ones. Hit every forum, usenet newsgroup, and mailing list they told about the first time and spread the news of the victory. Call every local media outlet and tell them the big news. Flyers, posters, everything. Do it again. Let the entire world know you won. The only thing you don’t have to do is send nuts and bombard CBS with emails.

CBS is going to provide on-line video to promote the story over the summer. The fans need to mobilize and create a huge viral campaign to promote those videos. They should coordinate with CBS to provide a tracking URL so that CBS can measure the clicks that are coming from the fan’s efforts as opposed to their organic methods. The fans should do their level best to make sure those servers crash from the load.

Raise money and buy ads. I still think internet ads are a good way to go, but you’ll also want to hit wider audiences. Try to channel as many people into your mailing list as you can, because you’re going to want to send out a huge blast reminding people to watch. The fact that they’re not professional, slick CBS ads will play much better.

CBS is going to run re-runs over the summer. Just watching them won’t be enough. If you’re not a Nielsen family, then it won’t matter if you watch them or not. But the good news is that if you convince 20 other people to watch them with you, you’ve got an equal statistical chance of snagging a Nielsen family and turning them into fans. The fans should coordinate geographically and show up at local sports bars to watch the re-runs. If 20 people show up and demand that they change the channel to CBS and turn up the sound, the sports bar will do it. Do it again every week, and call the local news media to promote the phenomenon. Just pretend you’re at Bailey’s.

CBS can’t count you if you’re not a Nielsen family, but the can count Innertube and iTunes/Amazon purchases. Every ranger should watch every episode on Innertube. And they should click the ads of the sponsors, because that’s the only way CBS can monetize those hits other than commercials embedded in the video. And every ranger should purchase an episode from iTunes/Amazon, because those are countable and the show an even bigger commitment to the show. Better yet, make the purchases from an Amazon store of web sites that support your movement.

It’s all up to the monster now. CBS is now on your side. If the ratings for Jericho aren’t huge next season, nothing is going to save it. You know what you have to do it, and how to do it. And frankly, you’ve already accomplished something much harder. Getting CBS to capitulate was hard – getting people to watch Jericho will be easy!

I guess we all now know who dropped the bomb. The monster dropped the bomb!

   

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11 Comments:

  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger BrendaLee1967 said…

    As just a small part of that 'Monster', I am SO willing to do all the marketing it takes to make sure "Jericho" comes out on top in the ratings.
    Thank you so much for ALL of the great articles you have been writing. They have been helpful and insightful. It seems like you were one of the few writers who actually thought we would do it.
    Here's to you Boondoggie.

     
  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger SaveJericho said…

    You continue to amaze me with your knowledge & the willingness to share it. You are such a huge part of our Victory today & I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Please continue to stick with us as we shoulder our way into the masses to ensure that the walls of Jericho never fall again.
    Thank you, Nina Tassler. Thank you all.

     
  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger pamelia57 said…

    Everyone has been so busy celebrating the news, so I guess I'm not really suprised there aren't many comments yet, LOL. You have been great in speaking up for us and giving real advice on how to furture our cause. You're a part of a huge victory!
    Thank You,
    Pam Ritchey, Ohio
    I helped save Jericho!
    Promote Jericho!! Save the World, One Town at a Time!

     
  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Mary said…

    Thank you for all your support and great articles.

     
  • At 8:40 PM, Blogger SaveJake said…

    You are so incredible and I am so thankful that you have stuck with us. Don't leave us now. Keep an eye out. You are so right about Nielsen ratings. I hope CBS keeps up their side because we are their partner now. Jericho is too great to lose twice.

     
  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger Donna said…

    So, b-doggie, who are YOU watching Jericho with? ;0)

    Thanks so much for all your attention to the campaign. We'll look forward to your continued commentary as Phase II of Save Jericho gets underway. Love all of your suggestions!

     
  • At 8:50 PM, Blogger Tracey42 said…

    This is a great day. Why because Jericho is back. My whole family loves this show. I am so excited. Lets hope next season will be a mind blower and they will keep it running for another.
    Thanks again
    Tracey
    Powell Ohio

     
  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger ss8348 said…

    A big THANK YOU for all your help! We are thrilled that CBS heard us and is giving Jericho another chance. We are ready to continue to support this quality program & it's sponsors!

     
  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger mpbnice said…

    Thank you so much for all the help and advice you've give us the last couple of weeks.

    Tonight the monster celebrates!

    You're right - we're tired but tomorrow we go back to work!

    Nuts!

     
  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger Andrea said…

    Once again, great insight into how we can be successful, and how we can leverage the buzz and energy from this protest to grow the Jericho audience. I definitely agree that we now need to coordinate with CBS to make Jericho the hit we all know it is. Together, we can chalk up another win for Jericho! Spread the word, folks! Get more and more people watching Jericho!

     
  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Jericho Saved said…

    Jericho reruns begin July 6 at 9 p.m. EST. Everyone please watch.

     

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