Viewers Get to Work, Fox Needs Your Marketing Skills

For TV networks, Fox is creating a marketing campaign viewers can create themselves. It's a mandatory request - otherwise the show will be cancelled. The show is "Arrested Development" -- and Fox has started its own grassroots campaign to try and revive it for another season. In this case, viewers become local street teams - the people actually doing the marketing work.

Low ratings will almost certainly take the show off the air if more viewers don't get on board to the quirky and Emmy-award winning sitcom.

So Fox says to its fans: We essentially can't do anymore to market the show. You want to save it? Go get more people to watch it. This is your fair warning.

Admittedly, the Fox show is a marketing problem. The tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic elements make its difficult to market, especially in a world of 30-second, 15-second, or 10-second TV network promotions. There are no quick jokes that the network can display for "Arrested" - a key ingredient of a TV promo for marketing sitcoms.



The New York Times article correctly states there have been many fan-based campaigns to save TV shows before. Most recently, there was a push for WB's "Roswell."

But what the story leaves out is the executive producer factor. Fox realizes it has a great talent in "Arrested Development" Creator Mitchell Hurwitz. Fox's effort isn't just to get more viewers, it's also to curry favor with Hurwitz down the road - when he might write another great sitcom that Fox must have.

Of course, what Hurwitz really wants its some good, old-fashioned on-air promotion of the show - or off-air paid marketing and advertising -- even if the creative messages aren't the best.

Establishing a Web site called, Fox, for very little money, wants to create its own down-and-dirty efforts that fans themselves put together. In the age of reality shows where TV networks can't find writers for TV shows anymore, Fox is taking marketing down the same road.

It can't figure this puppy out.

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