Commentary

Viceland's Promotion Targeted To Young News Junkies Who Need A Bit More Kick

Spice up your TV viewing: Watch someone swallowing chicken embryos or riding and crashing on a skateboard, toilet seat in tow.

Shock and awe: that’s what shows need now to tempt sophisticated TV viewers who have seen it all.

This is new TV ad creative touting Viceland -- that young and hip-skewing TV news/non-fiction cable network.  Viceland is a  partnership between Vice Media and A+E Network.

Current ads running show fast-cut video interspersed with titles of unusual new subject content: ““Illegal Guns,” “Mail Drugs,” “Kid Fights,” “Fire Massage,” “Car Lions,” “Prison Soccer”, “Toilet Boarding,” “Chicken Embryos,” “Satanic Babies”, etc.

One bit of shocking video includes one man apparently swallowing and then spitting up those embryos. A driving drumbeat soundtrack underlies the visuals.

No not your usual TV news documentary stuff. And that’s the point. But the subject matter -- we assumed -- is to be taken seriously.

Initially the edgy Viceland news/non-fictional programming seemed to  offer up a young-person’s guide to serious news issues -- a mix of though-provoking news with some “Jackass”-type content.

A&E Network, a long time ago, had been the cable channel offering up highbrow “arts” entertainment, like opera and historical documentaries. Now, we have “Duck Dynasty,” “Storage Wars,” and “Wahlburgers” -- stuff that only makes me want to mop my brow.

On its site, Viceland says the channel is for viewers with a “personal perspective.” Current shows include “Am I In the Morgue?” “Cyber Mercenaries” and “The Porno, The Hitchhiker & The Weed.”

This isn’t the only new perspective for Viceland. It wants to significantly reduce the normal TV commercial load -- as well as run lots of native advertising, 30 seconds to two minutes long, to help support itself.

Native advertising for a news/non-fictional programming channel?  Considering what Viceland seems to be going for, this is another bit of shock content.

“Viceland. It’s a TV Channel,” the end title of the network’s TV commercial, seems to bring all the craziness back down to earth -- for just second or two, anyway.

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