Oh boy–here we go again. Just as ‘Jersey Shore’ winds down, MTV plans to fill its time slot with 12 episodes of ‘Buckwild’ beginning in January. If you haven’t heard, this latest version of so-called reality TV will take place in the small town of Sissonville, West Virginia–and it will follow the time-tested MTV formula by encouraging young people to act like idiots. You may be shocked to learn that many West Virginia residents aren’t particularly happy about this development…but how will the public react?
Posts Tagged ‘Jersey Shore’
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We told you earlier this week why music videos are no longer MTV‘s cup of tea (reality shows are king, iTunes and Pandora rule the music world, you’re old, etc.), but now it seems the network that once supplied a generation with its soundtrack is struggling against falling ratings. So far this season, ratings are down roughly 30%, causing some concern for parent company Viacom. To make matters worse, MTV is about to lose its grossly (emphasis on the gross) popular series Jersey Shore.
While Viacom’s earnings were up 13%, revenue was down 17% for the July-September period–and domestic ad revenue declined 6%. During a conference call with analysts to discuss the issue, Wells Fargo media analyst Marci Ryvicker said, “There is a fear out there that MTV is broken.” Philippe Dauman, Viacom’s chief executive, immediately came to the network’s defense: “It is not broken…MTV is very healthy. Indeed, we have a great development pipeline and we have just added one of the major talents in our business in addressing young audience in Susanne Daniels.”
Daniels, who was hired this week as the network’s programming chief, earned her stripes at the WB network over a decade ago by championing shows like Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seems MTV hopes she’s still got an eye for what appeals to America’s youth–and that she can breathe new life into the slumping network’s programming lineup. “She will bring with her some additional talent who will bring to bear more development in the reality and scripted area. We have a good pipeline and this will turbo-charge it”, Dauman said of his new hire.
We PR professionals live in difficult times. We depend heavily on language to create the desired imagery, messages, and stories that we painstakingly present to the public. When words lose their meanings, we lose much of our power.
On that note, it’s a shame what the phrase “reality television” has done to the term “reality.” For people who love words, this is a travesty. Not only has the meaning of “reality” been diluted by cultural erosion; it’s been completely eviscerated—to the point where it’s used ironically. For real.
But the government is mounting a defense–with the public good in mind. New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer has introduced legislation that would allow communities to fight back against the invasion of reality shows like “Jersey Shore” that consume public resources while inviting drunken chaos. Though the laws target specific undesirable behaviors and actions, we all can see the bigger public relations picture here: No one wants their hometown forever associated with a bunch of idiots.
Throughout its more than three-decade history, MTV has gone from showcasing the latest and greatest meetings of pop music and short film to being a platform in which the stars of reality TV find new ways to behave badly–again and again.
The question has been asked repeatedly over the past few years, but after a somewhat lackluster Video Music Awards and the cancellation of the network’s most valuable property, “Jersey Shore“, we have to repeat it: is MTV still relevant? And where does the brand go from here?
With all the talk of Snooki and “Teen Mom”, it’s easy to forget that last year’s VMAs, starring Alicia Keys and a pregnant Beyonce, earned the highest ratings in MTV history. Still, an awards show that only involves six actual awards is very different from the VMAs we knew as kids. And the fact that the biggest moment of last night’s ceremony was a hug exchanged between Rihanna and Chris Brown reveals something about its relevance.
We don’t like to think of ourselves as moralists. We understand that people often act in their own self-interests and that publicity—and the money it sometimes brings—can inspire otherwise rational individuals to behave in…questionable ways. We also understand very well that, in business, the success of one’s client is paramount (as long as no ethical lines are crossed).
But on hearing that “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” has become a runaway hit for TLC (an acronym which thankfully no longer stands for “The Learning Channel”), and reading a Los Angeles Times post in which “Jersey Shore” creator SallyAnn Salsano expresses regret that she did not produce the show herself, we had to voice our disbelief. Surely we can all do better than this:
PR pros: Have you worked with clients whose antics you find distasteful? What are your thoughts on the “Toddlers and Tiaras” phenomenon? Do you share our belief that someone somewhere should be very ashamed?
Jersey Shore‘s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has started “an online social/pop culture experience that gives you all the latest and greatest in celebrity, entertainment, nightlife, fashion and Situation Nation news,” aptly called SitchNews.
Gawker notes some of the design similarities between their site and SitchNews (eerie!), but that’s probably where the parallels end. Story categories include “That Shit Cray,” “Sexting,” and “Tila Tequila.” And, after taking a quick look over the past couple of days, two posts getting a thumbs up icon designation are both “Official Situation” stories: the first about “Situation Abs” cream and the second about the fun time the reality star and e-commerce mogul is having in Australia.
Jenny Blue looks to be the primary writer for the site. Her title is “chief word cruncher” and her description is as follows: “i love pop culture and my spirit animal is a unicorn.”
Get your pitches ready!
The channel is like a kid in a comic strip: it never ages, and as one gets older, its appeal fades. Most people from Generation X say they cannot not even sit though a whole episode of it’s number one runaway hit “Jersey Shore.” It doesn’t matter. Like the artist it made famous, Madonna, it is a cultural chameleon, changing itself all the time to attract that top demographic of 18- to 34-year-olds. Mashable says the channel ushered in an a new vehicle for spreading the word about new music.
“Almost overnight, the music video became one of the most important promotional and marketing vehicles for the music industry,” the site says. Others say it has not lost its edge or its brand, by continuing to offend older folks (Jackass, for example).
Last week, the PRNewser Poll took out its crystal ball to ask whether it’s too soon to look forward to Web 4.0. Forty-two percent of respondents said no, that we’ll be on to Web 5.0 soon enough, while nearly 37 percent said that we still need to fully explore Web 3.0.
Given the ongoing discussion about how to measure efforts on digital media, the next step, may simply be analyzing the information we’ve gathered in order to decide how best to move forward into the next phase of the Web.
Normally, fashion brands can’t get enough of seeing celebrities wearing their labels. But as we all know, the Jersey Shore cast steers a little left of normal.
Labels are taking steps to make sure that if the reality show’s star Snooki is sighted, their handbags are not. New York Observer columnist and Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan says labels are sending Snooki bags… from other labels.
“Allegedly, the anxious folks at these various luxury houses are all aggressively gifting our gal Snookums with free bags. No surprise, right? But here’s the shocker: They are not sending her their own bags. They are sending her each other’s bags! Competitors’ bags!” writes Doonan.
Doonan adds that this “unbranding” is happening because no one in fashion wants to co-brand with the reality star celeb. Marketers are now on the look out to see if they’ve been “Snooked.”
[Image via The Purse Page]