It all started when the Onion did one of its pitch-perfect send-ups of USA Network programming. Goofing on the network’s offbeat fictional characters and strange show titling, the clip had USA Network announcing it would be renewing all “90 of its current shows.” The lineup includes a focus on shows that “feature beautiful experts pretending to be something they are not in dazzling locations.” From “Burn Collar” to “Legal Burns,” the network promises an endless supply of promo shots of lead characters standing alongside reflective pools.
Yeah, they pretty much nailed it. The spoof culminates by revealing that the network’s ultimate goal is to break down the walls barely separating its shows and blend them all into a single “colorful harmless procedural called Beach Law.”
USA Network knew that the best response was to laugh along. According to the company, they saw the video Tuesday evening and brainstormed about it that night. Deciding to “spoof the spoof,” they created their own key art following through on the Beach Law premise. By 2 p.m. on Wednesday they had crafted their own Beach Law panoramic promo, attributing the reporting to “The Scallion.” It was posted on their Facebook page and tweeted out under the hashtag #BeachLawUSA. “Onions won’t make us cry,” the post reads. “Trusted news source The Scallion confirms it: Beach Law, to be added to USA Network’s summer line-up. It’ll be a splash! Comedy Welcome.”
Apparently, some people are asking if the show is real. Attractive quirky characters standing by water. Of course it is a USA show.
As I wrote earlier this week after the Brand Marketers Summit, real-time marketing requires that companies of all sorts find their voice and talk more like humans in the digital space. That applies to media companies as well. Having a sense of humor about themselves is something media brands could use. Imagine if Fox and MSNBC learned to laugh.