We’re not sure how your calendar is shaking out these days, but here at Vulture, we’ve been finding that there’s just not enough time in a week to watch all the television shows we’d like to. Unfortunately, such is the fate of Better Off Ted, a show whose pilot we liked just plenty, but not enough to bump off something from our already crowded DVRs. Don’t feel too bad for ABC or Ted, though, as the show seems to be successfully building its audience each week. However, we did catch an interesting promo for the show earlier today that has us wondering whether ABC’s promo department is perhaps getting a bit too clever for its own good.
As everyone who has ever seen an advertisement for an entertainment product will attest, the critical testimonial is still one of the most popular devices with which to promote movies, television shows, CDs, what have you. Recently, the form has been adapting itself to the new era of Internet criticism, and the makers of the film One Week even went so far as to print a newspaper advertisement containing critical raves from random YouTube users, of all things. Now, ABC seems to be following in the same footsteps by lacing their new promos for Better Off Ted with testimonials from the likes of “ONE FAN from ABC.com” and “ANOTHER FAN from His Blog.”
Now, if you’ve ever watched Ted, you’ll realize these testimonials are not only fake, but also in line with the playfully humorous tone that the show takes with regards to all matters of marketing. This presents us with a bit of a conundrum: On the one hand, we appreciate that the ABC promo department is willing to get a little creative with their 30-second spots. On the other, however, won’t promos like this dissuade people who aren’t in on the joke from watching the show? After all, in the age of DVRs, the main function of running a promo (particularly on another network; we saw this one on ESPN) is to draw new audiences to shows, while the secondary goal is to remind engaged viewers to tune in. By running what amounts to an inside joke, is ABC hurting the potential growth of their show?
Here’s the spot. What say you, VultureWatchers?