Sunday, October 18, 2009

Going Viral for Buzz

With the proliferation of social media and digital distribution of primetime television, it seems every show is looking for that one viral hit that will essentially help increase their ratings (or more importantly create much-needed buzz).

Think about Saturday Night Live earlier this decade as its ratings and buzz factor were dwindling fast. In 2005, Andy Samberg joined the cast and he along with his comedy troupe The Lonely Island brought the idea of Digital Shorts to SNL. One of their first shorts "Lazy Sunday" became an instant internet success and suddenly SNL was back on the pop culture map. Since then they followed it up with Emmy-winning viral hit "Dick In A Box" and now it's expected that every episode of SNL have a Digital Short.

Other recent examples off the top of my head has been the success of Joss Whedon's Emmy winning Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and the fact that the only thing people remember about this year's VMA Awards is Kanye West award-blocking Taylor Swift as the clips ran wild in the internet.

How I Met Your Mother has been able to use internet tie-ins effectively in its show. Most notably was the music video they released to highlight one of its character's secret Canadian pop singer past. And thus Robin Sparkles and her viral hit "Let's Go to the Mall" was born. More recently i.e. this past week, the show led viewers to where they showed a music video of Marshall singing "Best Night Ever."

Just wanted to highlight this because this week also featured music videos from two other shows that I watch. ABC's new hit comedy Modern Family ended this past week's episode with a character singing a highly inapproriate, but funny song in front of his girlfriend's family about how he wanted said girlfriend to do him in the moonlight. Entitled "In The Moonlight (Do Me)," of course, ABC posted the music video online.

The other show has been using music videos and songs to promote itself and in fact was probably greenlighted into production because of that basic premise. As a musical, Glee is able to preview songs and videos to its fans days before an episode would air to create buzz and then, here's the key that probably made the suits smile, sell the music/videos on iTunes and other digital outlets.

Speaking of viral, this past weekend on Twitter, one of Glee's more memorable character, Coach Sue Sylvester, became a trending topic as she became the new Chuck Norris (or Jack Bauer).

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