Sunday, April 23, 2006

Online contest lets “L Word” viewers plot action|

Online contest lets “L Word” viewers plot action

Showtime has broken a bit of new ground here. Anyone interested in show marketing should check this out. (small warning the L Word is about lesbianism) Basically Showtime invited fans to contribute to the creation of a script for the show, a “fanisode”. I'm not sure this has ever been done before but it sounds like fairly untrampled ground to me.

This one statement gives me some hint that the studio even understands what they are doing with this.
“He gave credit to the way in which the contest was presented. ”If it's done within a safe context where the creators are involved in it, and it's structured so fans can share with their friends, it can be very positive,“ Hayes said. ”Ultimately fans become brand ambassadors for the show.“ ”

The key is the brand ambassadors comment. This is what every marketing would love to have; its consumers selling the product for them. (Seth Godin eat your heart out) This very thing is often what is now being commonly referred to as viral marketting.

What I feel about the idea of this show isn't nearly as relevant in this discussion as the fact I like the idea of this. The article indicates that Showtime realizes the fans are dreaming up their own fan fiction anyway, so why not channel some of that energy, with guidance and guidelines of course.

Or perhaps you feel that this is a cheap way to get a show together that fans want. Heck, this is very similar to what some websites are doing, ala Flickr and Digg, with all content being user contributed. (extreme examples I know.) Both of those sites are maddeningly successful. From the article, the show's popularity is up and it's just been renewed.

Will this dabble at something different be something used again? A big hit? Or will it end up being just a one shot marketting ploy, never to be seen again?

What do you think?

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