The Voice Takes Social and #Tailgating to a Whole New Level


NBC’s The Voice has been a TV fan favorite for a long time, and it’s innovative utilization of social media throughout its history has made it a huge social engager.  In 2011, The Voice’s biggest success was its ability to engage fans through Twitter. Although it may seem like old news now, the inclusion of Twitter into the very core of the show was a huge step in the social direction. Tweets are shown on the live broadcasts, and this is used to empower viewers and give them a feeling of direct involvement with the fate of the performers.

During Tuesday night’s episode viewers were given five minutes to vote for their favorite of the bottom three artists to continue on into the Top 10. While nine contestants were saved by fans’ votes in the previous evening, the tenth contestant is saved via a live tweeting save. The hashtag #VoiceSave was used followed by the name of the singer. Viewers could watch the popularity of the hashtags #VoiceSaveTJ, #VoiceSaveDani, and #VoiceSaveTess fluctuate throughout commercial breaks. Unsurprisingly, Tess won the hearts of viewers, and she will again be performing in next week’s live shows, but looking at The Voice’s social engagement brings us to the big picture.

It is not uncommon to see shows rely heavily on second screen viewer engagement. Yet this week, The Voice went social beyond just voting, and invited viewers to a Voice Tailgate. While Americans usually associate tailgates with hotdogs and beer, the social tailgate has an entirely different meaning. Using the hashtag #VoiceTailgate, “hungry fans” were given a taste of behind the scenes social content in place of hotdogs. While actual tailgate recipes are included with this event, the main goal was clearly to further engage and bring together fans via multiple social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Involved audiences had access to behind-the-scenes content and potential on-screen mentions by Carson Daly.

What does this mean for The Voice and social media? These campaigns are booming with success and bringing a whole new world to Social TV. The Voice has consistently been an innovative leader in social TV, and its results have been astounding. Looking to the future, fans can be a part of the making of The Voice through many different avenues, and the excitement and benefit surrounding this socialization of TV may only be a precursor of what’s to come in the world of social TV, highlighting the unique attributes of the intersection of television and social media.


#FWBL Fails to be “Friends”

Cheaply trying to knock-off of the 90s fan-favorite sitcom Friends, the new show Friends With Better Lives weakly attempts to be THE show that everyone is talking about. This new sitcom was being considered as the replacement for the How I Met Your Mother’s time slot until an astonishing 31% drop in viewership after only one episode convinced CBS executives otherwise.

The central characters in the show are boring, offering little excitement to the show’s already doomed future. The predictability of the conflicts the show centers on – fear of being single in the city, complications with dating, and marriage – only makes it less enticing. Although the producer of Friends is on staff for this show and the cast list boasts some big names, it’s future is looking pretty grim. While it would be hard for anything to fully match up to the popularity of the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, this certainly will not even come close.

Social media is a huge factor in determining shows’ popularity, and CBS rolled out a massive social media push for the show’s premiere. The show had a #FWBL live tweet event, trying to start a social media trend and drive excitement and engagement. While simply typing #FWBL into the Twitter search bar yields results, a vast majority of those tweets are from cast members, @fwblcbs, the main CBS twitter handle, or entertainment magazines. (@Vanderjames – cast member – even tweeted a picture of the cast live-tweeting during the show!)

While cast members of NBC’s Scandal live-tweet during episodes, they are published more candidly while this type of social media promotion feels forced and unnatural. Fan engagement on Twitter is low, and Twitter is the most popular platform for social TV discussions.

Where does this leave the future of Friends with Better Lives? It doesn’t really look like it’s headed anywhere, but only time will tell if this show can match the pre-premier buzz executives were looking to create.

Why is Everyone on TV Dying? [SPOILERS]


Even with the capabilities of on-demand, Netflix, and streaming, TV shows often dictate the way we live our lives and make our daily schedules. We get to know the characters on our favorite shows like they are our friends, hating their enemies as if they were our own. We feel TV characters’ pain and happiness; sadly, many TV fans have felt quite a bit of grief these past few weeks due to the deaths of so many characters.

The most recent TV death was on the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, angering loyal fans and causing a huge reaction on Twitter. (#HIMYM and #HIMYMfinale were still trending more than 24 hours after the episode aired). Killing off the mother played by Cristin Milioti was a tragic ending to the much beloved show. Despite the scriptwriters’ forward-looking approach to the final episode, which looked into the characters’ lives years into the future, viewers felt this was an untimely death. Will this ruin fans’ fond memories of the show?

But this has not been the only major death of a TV character in recent weeks. Shocking and devastating, the love interest and leading man in The Good Wife, Will Gardner, was killed in a seemingly random shooting in a scene at the courthouse. While defending a case, Will’s client stole a gun from court security and began shooting; Will was trying to wrestle the gun away when he was shot and killed. Although this was written into the script to relieve actor Josh Charles from the show, it leaves fans wondering where the show will go next. The romance and tension between good wife Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner has been a central plot point. Will’s death caused pain and grief, shown through the activity online through Twitter:

Now we can only wait to see how The Good Wife’s script, fans, and characters will cope with the loss of its knight in shining armor.

Scandal’s White House Press Secretary and husband of the Chief of Staff, James Novak, was also murdered in a recent episode. Shot by Jake of B613, the end of one week’s episode showed Jake holding a gun pointed at James and David. However, fans had to wait a grueling week to see which man would be dead in the subsequent episode. One of the most fun-loving spirits in such a serious show, the excruciatingly long and painful death of James caused quite a buzz on social media.

The real question behind all of these TV deaths is: why? Why are they all occurring at the same time? Can the fans handle it? Social media tells us how the viewers are feeling, but only time will tell if these shows can survive the premature deaths of their main men and leading ladies.

Juan Pablo: Now Famous as the Worst Bachelor of All Time


As this season of The Bachelor came to a close, fans were shocked by Juan Pablo’s arrogant actions during the final rose episode and the follow-up with host Chris Harrison.

Clare told Chris Harrison and viewers that Juan Pablo  said something sexually-based and offensive to her during their helicopter ride in St. Lucia. Outraged, Clare addressed the issue with him but then gave him another chance. Afterwards, Juan Pablo discussed future plans with Clare, and the possibility of having children with her.

Yet, during the Final Rose ceremony the following day, Juan Pablo chose contestant Nikki, shocking and upsetting Clare. Despite questionable actions throughout the season, Clare finally gained fans’ respect when she gave him a piece of her mind:

“I saved this moment for the man of my dreams. I thought that was you. I thought I knew what kind of man you were…I’ve lost respect for you…I’ll tell you what. I thought I knew what kind of man you were. What you just made me go through — I would never want my children having a father like you.”

During “After the Final Rose”, Clare  spoke with host Chris Harrison about Juan Pablo’s behavior. Chris Harrison claimed he was never as frustrated with other bachelors in the history of the show and he was appalled by Juan Pablo’s refusal to tell Nikki that he loves her, his disrespect of Clare, and the refusal to give straight answers to any questions pertaining to the relationship or future plans:

“Help me help you. I’m trying to make you look better…Come up with an articulate thought about this woman next to you who has pledged her devotion to you”.

Previous seasons’ bachelors and contestants were equally disgusted by Juan Pablo’s personality and arrogance, and fans have taken to Twitter to express their feelings:

As fans, producers, contestants, and Bachelor/Bachelorette veterans were all dismayed by Juan Pablo’s behavior throughout the season, we can only guess that winner Nikki will not be able to put up with his refusal to commit or tell her he loves her. Fans and producers can only hope that next season’s bachelorette Andi Dorfman will have a much better outcome than Juan Pablo.

Ellen DeGeneres Takes the Ultimate Selfie, Breaking Twitter

During yesterday’s 86th annual Academy Awards there was no shortage of excitement.  Veteran Oscar-host and principal television personality Ellen DeGeneres returned after seven years, creating one of the most entertaining award shows of all time.

Opening the show on the stage and making fun of nominees and actors, such as Jennifer Lawrence’s repeat fall on the red carpet and calling Jared Leto the prettiest audience member, DeGeneres interacted casually with the star-studded audience.  Spending a lot of her time walking up and down the aisles and popping up between stars seated in the audience, Ellen kept the long program humorous and exciting. While she pulled many stunts that amused viewers, participants, and nominees, such as ordering pizza delivery during the event, and giving Bradley Cooper lottery tickets for a consolation prize, her most impressive feat of the night was breaking Twitter.

Ellen DeGeneres vowed to break a record and have the most retweets in history by topping her previous selfie. Aiming to fit as many stars as possible into one picture, and with Cooper in charge of holding the camera, DeGeneres managed to fit several celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, and Lupita Nyong’o in the frame. Retweeted by individuals watching from home, as well as by Good Morning America and other big networks, this selfie surpassed Barack Obama’s re-election tweet, which had only been tweeted about 770,000 times. Within a few minutes of posting, Ellen’s tweeted picture was the first tweet in history to break 1,000,000 retweets and then hit another milestone surpassing 2,000,0000 retweets later on in the night.

While Ellen tweeted many backstage pictures throughout the entire event, she has now forever marked her place in Twitter history. Not only did she gain the most retweets, but she will undoubtedly be remembered for breaking Twitter during one the most-watched entertainment awards shows of the year.

ABC’s Scandal’s Use of Social Media Holds Over Restless Fans, as the Show’s Return is Finally Within Reach


One of the most talked about shows on Television, ABC’s “Scandal,” has been using various social media platforms to promote its return this Thursday, February 27 at 10PM.  This show’s Facebook page, with nearly 2 million likes and almost 250,000 people talking about it, has used a variety of activations to excite its many loyal fans. Active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Scandal’s integrated marketing communications approach maintains a coordinated front on all platforms.

The end of the last episode left viewers hungry for the next episode, with exhilarating drama erupting in the final minutes.  The return and mystery surrounding Olivia Pope’s mother, Vice President Sally Langston’s murder of her husband, and the ever-blooming romance between Olivia Pope and Fitz have left fans restless throughout the show’s winter hiatus. Yet many of them are grateful for the show’s social media presence being used to hold them over.

Even during the show’s break, Scandal has been maintaining fans high level of excitement by posting daily updates. Sharing videos of the official trailer and other sneak peaks on the show’s page, the promotion of the Pinterest account, and connecting fans with the cast members on a personal level—fans can wish the stars “Happy Birthday!” by liking the pictures posted—Scandal has created an interactive platform for fans on its Facebook, garnering thousands of likes for each and every post and update.

In the world of Twitter, Scandal has been even more present. With 438,000 followers, the account tweets pictures and uses hashtags such as #Gladiators, #Scandal, #ScandalThursdays, #WinterGladitors, and #CopeWithoutPope. The show is generating excitement and starting conversations among gladiator “wannabes”. By using the same pictures on its Twitter Feed and  Facebook, the integration and cohesiveness of this advertising push is reaping great success as it draws fans into the world of Scandal with visual appeal and exhilarating interaction:

On Pinterest, Scandal shares fans’ favorite quotes and other graphic representations of the inner-workings of Scandal’s intricate characters and plotlines.  In part due to the consistent reinforcement and spread of excitement surrounding the return of this masterpiece, viewership numbers of Scandal’s next episode will most likely be  sky-high, and as a fan, I personally cannot wait to see what Olivia Pope’s gladiators accomplish next.

Is Targeted Marketing Entering Mass Media?: Addressable TV

Direct to consumer marketing has become increasingly personalized since the introduction of Google ads and Facebook banners. Based on browsing history, surfers see more of what they want. Despite the growing personalization in online marketing, mass media hasn’t yet capitalized on this trend, but with the introduction of an emerging technology, Addressable TV, this may all change before our eyes.

Addressable TV allows advertisers to target commercials to specific home television sets. The service is specifically targeted at insurance companies and political campaigns, and can help marketers run more efficient campaigns. Broadcast companies are expected to charge a higher per viewer rate for the increased precision afforded to advertisers.

Chauncey McLean, Chief Officer of Analytics Media Group, believes that this enhanced feature will attract advertisers. “Addressable TV is a powerful tool for those that are equipped to use it.  If [they] know who [they] want to talk to and what [they] want to say, [they] can be much more precise”.

The Democratic National Committee employed targeted marketing through direct mail and door-to-door visits during the last gubernatorial campaign, helping Virginia Governor Terry Mcauliffe win that election. The opportunity for targeted TV advertising for political campaigns may emerge as early as the 2016 presidential election.

We can only wonder what the future will bring to political advertising, but as this emerging technology continues to evolve, the marketing implications for TV advertising as a whole are astronomical. While the introduction of this innovation may bring about major changes in election polling, we can only wonder when it will be employed to advertise consumer goods, and if and when it may become too personal and too invasive.

Is the Fading Charm of a Disrespectful Homophobe Hurting “The Bachelor”?


The premise of ABC’s “The Bachelor” is for one man to find love from a group of contestants who apply from around the country. This season stars Juan Pablo, a 32-year old single father to daughter Camila. While in previous seasons, viewers have fallen in love with the bachelor, Juan Pablo has raked in more hatred than allure.

Charged by Bachelor viewers as a homophobe, Juan Pablo was quoted as saying that a gay or bisexual man should not be featured as the bachelor because he “[doesn’t] think it’s a good example for kids to watch that on TV” and added that “they’re more perverts, in a sense”.  Bloggers and tweeters were rampant with commentary about this bachelor’s speech. Some conversationalists called the show’s premise, and Juan Pablo’s participation in it, a bad example to kids, as they should not be watching this show at all. The Huffington Post and entertainment publications on the Internet flooded Facebook newsfeeds and Twitter home pages with outraged fans, as some re-tweeted articles with their own commentary:

A self-declared dedicated father, Juan Pablo’s homophobic, derogatory comments are not his only despicable attribute making fans wonder why exactly anyone still wants to be his true love. While the show’s premise may seem innocent enough at first glance, the way that Juan Pablo conducts himself on the show is certainly not.  Sean Hayes and his sweetheart  Catherine from the previous season would not live together before their marriage, vowing traditional values, an admirable trait. On the other end of the spectrum, Juan Pablo has been anything but wholesome, as he gets very close to many of the women on this season, outraging and deterring fans.

Last week, Juan Pablo got particularly intimate with contestant Clare, and then shamed and ignored her in the following episode. This behavior has further angered fans, and leaves them wondering when exactly all of the fandom and fascination with this hunky Venezuelan will end.

Embarrassing ABC by his remarks, and degrading women left and right, Juan Pablo’s commentary was denounced by ABC and the production company. While negative opinions about Clare have faded, we can rely on Juan Pablo to continue to disappoint and offend with each new episode.


Coke Thinks “America is Beautiful,” but Americans May Not Be


Many of this year’s Super Bowl commercials had very American themes, and on the social media frontier, controversy often breeds popularity. In response to the Coca Cola commercial with the hash-tag #AmericaIsBeautiful, Twitter was abuzz with feedback about the advertisement.  Viewers either loved or hated Coke’s approach to how and what America is.

As a viewer, the product placement seemed sparse in the opening of the advertisement, and the focus did not appear to be on selling the product or brand.  For years, Coca Cola has been on Interbrand’s Top 100 Global Brands, giving them the freedom to explore a new frontier and take bigger risks in advertising.

But why this theme? Why such a risk? Was it worth it?

Social media had a loud response to Coca Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” advertisement. Viewers posted some hateful, racist, and exclusionary tweets. The commercial included a gay family, as well as lyrics and images including non-Caucasians and non-Christians, angering many viewers. This outrage created a whirlwind of communication and discussion on social media. Because Twitter operates in real-time, within a few minutes of the commercial’s run during the Super Bowl, hateful tweets were posted left and right, including the following:

  • “That coke commercial sucked. Mexicans, terrorists, jews, and niggers are not   ‘American’.”

  • “Nice to see that coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way   to go coke. You can leave America.”

  • “@CocaCola Since when is it okay to sing ‘America the Beautiful’ in any language other   than ENGLISH!! #cocacola #FAIL”

  • “Still confused as to why they were singing about America in all those foreign   languages in the Coke commercial. We speak English…”

 However, to others tweeted in support of Coke’s forward-thinking and all-inclusive commercial, including gay and foreign families. Tweets that supported Coke’s take on what makes America the modern, melting pot, that so many of us call our home included:

  • “Boycott Coke because it’s terrible for you, not because they ran a Super Bowl   commercial that reminded you that not everyone is white. #Coke”

  • “Regret I don’t speak more languages. Seems there are people out there proud that       they barely speak one. #cokecommercial”

  • “If you didn’t like the Coke commercial, it’s safe to say that you’re ignorant to what     America is all about. #AmericaIsBeautiful”

  • “1. America the Beautiful was written by a lesbian. 2. There is no official language for America. 3. Bigots annoy me.”

This polarizing and controversial advertisement proves the power of social media and its relation to TV. By including the hash-tag #AmericaIsBeautiful at the end of the commercial, Coca Cola gave viewers a way to discuss the commercial, but they could not have anticipated the strongly adversarial reaction to this commercial that had aimed to paint the picture of an idealized, diverse America, embracing the many different cultures and ethnicities that make up this nation.  In trying to show that America is beautiful and that Coke is for anyone and everyone, in less than 24 hours Twitter has helped this Super Bowl commercial reach over 2 million views, as well as gain mention on traditional media outlets.