Apr 30

Spotted: Peppercom AE devouring the latest episode of Gossip Girl on Metro North…

Guest Post by Laura Mills.Gossipgirlimage

Yes, at 25 (old enough to have an SAT score graded on the 1600 scale) I watch the CW’s Gossip Girl.
Fortunately, I’m not alone.  Millions share an obsession with the high school teens of Manhattan’s elite, anticipating each scandalous episode, narrated by an enigmatic blogger against the backdrop of New York’s trendiest hot spots.  On paper the concept sounds ridiculous.  Yet, while pausing an episode on my iPod to arrive at a Connecticut train station, it occurs to me how progressive Gossip Girl really is.

A recent New York magazine article reports that new episodes of Gossip Girl pulled in an average of 2.5 million viewers before the writers strike, an atrocious number, considering the 23.6 million tuned into last week’s American Idol.  Traditionally, this measurement should lead to quick cancellation.  Yet, the new show thrived.  As New York points out, new episodes regularly rotate at the top of iTunes’ most downloaded list, while hundreds of thousands watch free episodes from the network’s Web site.  Personally, I think a television show revolving around a blog should have its own life online, but while Web components and a Second Life presence don’t independently make Gossip Girl a digital standout, the fact that it is the first television show to find primary traction online is a significant development in the media landscape.

Gossip Girl viewers adapt to new technology faster and use it in more ways than ever.  They have at least one iPod and communicate via text message, IM and Facebook 24 hours a day.  Diaries are no longer hidden under mattresses, but documented with password access through LiveJournal.  They can’t comprehend a time when a handwritten middle school assignment was acceptable, and therefore naturally identify with the integration of new media social issues with classic teenage archetypes.  This generation is our future. 

As marketers, we will be targeting these plugged in, socially networked, skeptically over-stimulated viewers.  In fact, companies are already cashing in on the show’s success through product placement and integrated Web promotions, including Verizon and Victoria’s Secret, as well as a plethora of fashion designers and retailers.  So, while it’s just a mere teenage drama, Gossip Girl shatters the glass ceiling to reach viewers via multiple platforms and keeps them coming back for more.  Perhaps the high school characters aren’t the only ones who should be taking notes?

Apr 25

The Pope comes with a message, but does he leave with followers?

Steve and Ted sit down with guests Darryl Salerno and Dawn Lauer to discuss the Pope’s recent visit to theRepchatter_logo_2
states. 

The discussion centers on the Pope’s recent delivery of the message of the Catholic Church and how it resonates with the people in the states.

Was the pope’s visit a success from an image and reputation standpoint? Did the press favor him in news coverage?

Mar 19

Patterson seems to be everything Spitzer wasn’t

If his speech is any indication, New York’s new governor will be everything his predecessor wasn’t. InPaterson
addition to being the first blind and black governor of the empire state, David A. Patterson appears to be the ‘yin’ to Elliot Spitzer’s ‘yang.’ To wit:

– Patterson is inclusive and reached out across party lines to ask Republicans and Democrats alike to work together. Sptizer’s pit bull tactics, on the other hand, only served to isolate and anger Albany lawmakers.

– Patterson’s manner was folksy, warm and self-deprecating as opposed to Spitzer’s argumentative and combative style.

– Patterson (and his wife) both came clean asap on prior affairs, thereby circumventing any investigative reporting and subsequent media circus on the subject. No need to compare Spitzer’s transparency on a similar subject.

Patterson has a long way to go and many hurdles to clear, but if day one is any indication, he’s off and running. Communications pros, young and old, should look at ‘the speech’ as a textbook example of connecting with an audience, inspiring confidence and setting the stage for progress. The new governor may be legally blind, but his vision for New York’s future seems crystal clear.

Thanks to Ken Jacobs for the idea.