At cwtv.com, we’re all VIPs!

27 03 2009

thecwAs much as I love The CW, I have to admit that I’m sometimes a little overwhelmed by their website.  I feel like everything I click on leads to social media, social media, and yes, more social media.  Now, I’m not saying that their use of social media is bad – I actually think it’s pretty great – it’s just that there’s so much of it!

Every show on the network has its own “VIP Lounge” filled with blogs, message boards and community member profiles related to that particular show.  Fans of The CW can join the website and post blogs, skim through tag clouds, discuss their favourite shows, take quizzes, meet other fans, and browse through countless photo galleries of the ridiculously attractive CW actors.  As America’s fifth broadcast network, targeting women ages 18 to 34, The CW is definitely taking advantage of the social media trend.  You hardly even need to watch the network, considering the amount of the supplementary material they provide on their website through social media.  Blogs with plot summaries, streaming video of full episodes, previews for upcoming episodes… why bother even turning on the TV?  They’ve definitely recognized that those in their key demographic group are big users of social media.  In fact, according to an analysis done on quantcast.com, 61% of the 893,000 Americans who visit The CW’s website each month are female, and 50% are within the 18-34 age group.

In addition to filling their website with different forms of social media, The CW has also extended their online presence to external sites like Facebook.  Upon clicking the “Lounge” link on The CW’s homepage, users are taken to a page where they can go to the VIP Lounges for various shows, or link to the network’s fan page on Facebook, where they’re told they can “make friends”.  With more than 52,000 Facebook fans, it’s pretty easy to see that The CW has a considerably large online following.

What I find funny though, is that The CW’s Facebook page is, in some ways, easier to navigate than its official website.  While there’s a lot more information and ways for fans to interact on cwtv.com, the Facebook page is much more streamlined and much less chaotic.  The website is bright, flashy and fun to look at, but a little overwhelming at times because there’s so much going on – and I bet it would not be too fun with a dial-up connection…  The Facebook page, on the other hand, is simple and makes it easy to find information like the nightly show lineups, photos, videos and even where to buy CW shows on DVD.

Clearly, The CW is not afraid of using social media – they’ve embraced it really well, but the fact that as a member of their key demographic, I sometimes find the website too overwhelming to even bother with, makes me wonder if they’ve gotten a little too ambitious.  Or maybe I’m just picky and too lazy to dig through all that extra stuff when I want to know about the latest One Tree Hill drama or Gossip Girl hijinks?  Is it just me, or is it just a bit too much?

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Scandalous personal brand? No thanks, reality TV!

18 02 2009

Since starting at Centennial in September, something that I’ve heard over and over again is that I need to have a personal brand in the PR world. Everyone keeps saying that I’m supposed to brand myself to show potential employers that I have the skills and characteristics that make me the best person for the job. Ok, that makes a lot of sense, even if it does feel a little strange to think of myself as a packaged brand. Although, I guess it’s easier to picture myself as brand if I think of it as an obsessively neatly packaged, TV-addicted brand…

Gossip GirlAnyway, the whole idea of branding got me thinking about something that I read on a TV.com blog last week about Bravo working on a realty version of Gossip Girl. Basically, the show will follow the rich and privileged students of Manhattan’s most elite private schools, and broadcast their all their personality quirks to the world. Their potential audience includes individuals who may be influential in terms of their acceptance to college, or acquiring their dream job in the future. For some teens, this could be a good thing – being on their best behaviour during the show’s filming could allow them to demonstrate their positive attributes and sell their personal brand. However, the premise for this show is a real life Gossip Girl, a TV show in which no one is ever on their best behaviour.

Showing privileged teens indulging in the finer things in life, throwing lavish parties and getting caught up in high school drama may make for good TV, but it does not build a very good personal brand. The intention of the show is to find a group of teens who are the real life Serena van der Woodsen, Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf, which means that some serious drama and scandal are certainly in store for viewers. Unfortunately for the show’s cast, I really can’t imagine that drama and scandal are things that college admissions departments or employers would like to see in an applicant’s past. Opening up your life to the world may seem fun and exciting to a teenager who dreams of fame, but a show with a goal of capturing the drama and elitist behaviours of Manhattan’s wealthy teens does not seem like a good way to present your personal brand.

So, I think in building my own personal brand, it may be best to stay away from starring in scandalous reality TV shows – it probably won’t lead to a successful career in PR. It may be hard to give up on my dreams of having every single moment of my life exposed to the world, but I think it may be best if I just stick with building my brand through my online presence with social media. I’d say it’s a little easier to delete an embarrassing picture from Facebook, than it would be to eliminate all records of an embarrassing reality TV show.