Like, totally. Surrounded
January 06, 2012
While the CW has never been a network that’s impressed with its ratings, it’s continued to tap into one universal truth. Teen girls (code = me) have been around forever. And they will be around forever. They’ll watch TV, they’ll aspire to be the characters they see on TV. And they’ll buy whatever those characters are wearing on TV.
Ten years ago, the DVR screwed everything up for broadcasters, advertisers and Hollywood. But for me, it made planning my social life a whole lot easier. I could go out (code = work late) and not have to worry that I’d miss both Gossip Girl and American Idol. Because, let’s face it. I can’t live without my weekly dose of Simon Cowell and Chuck Bass.
When Dawson’s Creek launched in 1998, it successfully bridged the gap between pop culture and product placement. Joey Potter and the gang graced the pages of J.Crew. You weren’t driven online to buy a barn jacket, but the folks at the WB were still thinking that way. They knew the bridge between entertainment marketing and product branding was starting to blur, and they were ready to hop on board.
These days, when I watch Gossip Girl on the CW, I’m completely immersed in a 360 degree experience. During any given episode, Blair Waldorf might mention a Zac Posen dress she’s dying to wear to hotspot Al Fiori. She’ll text Serena, they’ll meet up at Barney’s and if they’re lucky they’ll run right into Zac while they’re there. Seamless product integration, plus a promotional plug for the designer. If you’re watching the show live, Zac might join Blair for a brief interstitial before the commercial break, reminding you to check out his clothing line online before the show returns. And if you’re watching online, you’re treated to banner domination and a :30 spot from Barney’s. A completely engaging experience, so you’ll never leave the Gossip Girl platform for that full hour.
During the latest online episode, I was treated to holiday themed ads from both Old Navy and Express. Neither is as aspirational as many of the brands featured on the show, but both target many of the real, down to earth young girls who are also part of the viewing audience. And who have spending power.
(That’s code for me.)