Brett Favre, Social Media and Soap Operas

Madden NFL Football has long since sent these Mattel Football games into retirement.

Madden NFL games have long since sent these Mattel Football games into retirement.

So what do Brett Favre, Social Media and Soap Operas have in common? Not much unless you count Favre’s on again/off again retirement soap opera and it’s coverage in Social Media. Seriously the only real connection is that I’ve written previously about all three and here are some updates on those three topics. 

Making way for New Talent – In a post from a few months ago I commented on the need for organizations and teams to make way for new talent, especially when existing talent might be losing a step – physically or metaphorically.  To illustrate this example I used the whole Brett Favre – on-again/off-again retirement hubbub. As it turns out Favre had a great season and the Vikings’ gamble on Brett Favre paid off big time. The Vikings went 12-4 this season, winning 2 playoff games before losing to the Saints in the NFC Championship.  This compares to last years 10-6 season and loss in the wildcard playoff game. 

Favre’s last two games of the playoffs were a study in contrasts though. Favre had a playoff career game against the Cowboys throwing for 4 touchdowns. But against the Saints Favre’s interception achilles’ heel beat him once again. His last play as a Green Bay Packer was throwing an interception. His last play as a New York Jet was throwing an interception and his last play this year as a Viking was throwing an interception. Maybe what makes Favre such a great quarterback, is also what makes him think he can make those impossible passes – or maybe he’s just not physically able to make the passes anymore in key situations that he was once was able to. Of course he wasn’t the only high profile quaterback to thrown an interveption at a key point in a game this post-season – witness Peyton Manning’s interception that was run back for a touchdown. 

 I’ll leave the assessment of just when a quarterback has lost something to smarter and more knowledgeable people – but I think everyone can agree that the Vikings made a great decision in going after Favre.  Because with the “Old man from Mississippi” at QB, the Vikings made it to the NFC championship game  for the first time since the 2000 season losing to the eventual Superbowl Champions. 


Social Media requires more finesse than selling Ginsu Knives on late-night Television infomercials.

Social Media for Entrepreneurs 

– As more companies and entrepreneurs recognize the importance of Social Media it’s interesting to see how it’s implemented – here’s the link to my original post. Spam, noise and spew are increasing and creeping into more companies’ feeds. They are starting to resemble a date who does all the talking – after a while you just can’t wait for the date to end.

Social Media is a two-way conversation . No one wants to spend time with someone who always talks and never listens – and the same holds true with social media. It seems that some companies let the power of Social Media go to their heads – and drunk with the ability to have a speak informally with their customer they start acting like they are pushing Shamwows in a late-night infomercial – “but wait, there’s more”! 

You don’t get extra points for how long you can talk without taking a breath or how much you can type without letting your fingers rest. You need to listen –  to what your customers are saying to you and saying about you – but also to listen to what they are saying about your competition. By listening to your customers you can find out what is on their minds as well as what needs aren’t being met in the marketplace. They may not be talking to you directly, but the great thing about social media is that you can listen to many conversations simultaneously and extract meaningful information from them all with just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. 

Pepsi’s decision to forgoing Superbowl advertising and instead invest a significant sum into social media is really a watershed event. It provides a level of validation into the effectiveness and insight of social media. While marketers like the buzz associated with a purchasing Superbowl airtime – the media equivalent of playing in the all-star game – the actual effectiveness and ongoing reach of a Superbowl ad purchase needs to be questioned more. Yes it’s a very large audience but how many of those viewers are your target customers? Instead of spending $2.5 million on a 30-second spot why not spend some of that money on R&D into a new product line or service, and increase the size of your client-services and sales teams, and implement a social media campaign, and put on a road show for new and existing customers. You’ll still have $500,000 left over and have accomplished far more than a few seconds of fleeting media buzz. 

Guiding Light Canceled

The editors at Soap Opera Weekly have got to be nervous as the # of shows to cover keeps shrinking.

Soap Operas over the summer I wrote a post about how I was surprised that so many soap operas were still on the air, especially given the large number of entertainment alternatives that exist. Since that post much has changed in the soap opera world with the cancellations of  “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light”. Ultimately what doomed those shows, and will also doom the surviving soap operas within five years, were programming costs and inexorably changing demographics. Reality shows, talk shows, news programs, and reruns are all much cheaper to produce while still delivering ratings high enough to interest advertisers. And as ever more women are entering the workforce the population of available viewers is declining.

Would those soap operas have been cancelled if the economy was in better shape? Who knows. But the competition from DVRs, an ever-expanding number of channels on Cable and Satellite, and online streaming options from Netflix, Hulu, Youtube and channel specific content providers, not to mention competition from Facebook and other Social Media outlets means that many more people have choices now as to how to spend their entertainment time. 

One of those choices includes time-shifting prime-time programming with DVRs in order to view the next day or later, something that is now occuring so frequently that Nielsen actually takes this into account with their C3 ratings – which include ratings for the live airing of a show plus 3 days of DVR viewing. TV By The Numbers  has a great analysis of the top 20 shows showing what percentage of the audience each show views it live and views it by DVR. Now instead of having to watch American Idol or Lost when it airs, people can watch it the next day commercial-free and save time in the process. DVRs, free on-demand viewing and streaming of shows will further drive fragmentation of audiences resulting in fewer “must-see TV” moments to discuss around the water cooler. This increased fragmentation will also shorten the half-life of shows and virtually eliminate the market for long-term reruns of first-run TV shows. 

So do you agree or disagree about the Favre Social Media Soap Opera? Where do you stand on Soap Operas and long-term viewing trends? Let me know. -t

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