UPDATE: West Coast ad list (4 additional sponsors), 12/8/11: http://bit.ly/rUGexa courtesy @Anthonyjwu
(Also, @AnthonyJWu is finding tweet handles I missed: @TargetRedCard, @cutiescitrus, @TinTinMovie, @AskCapitalOne, @MmMmmGooood. He is officially a Community Twitter God. I'll try to keep up with you, Mr. Wu!)
Current week's ad sponsor lists (Thursday, 12/8/11, Please use @Kohls_Official for Kohl's, I made an error on the @violincatherine list. Thanks!): http://bit.ly/uvPWka and http://bit.ly/tqwTdV and http://bit.ly/uqhqhD Courtesy @Greendale_Love and @SaveCommunity3
NOTE: @YoplaitYogurt has been AMAZING on twitter (http://twitpic.com/7omky7); @OldNavy broadcast SEVERAL ads throughout the rest of the NBC schedule tonight, and I'm planning on making a @PizzaHut video (a la Leonard) this week.
Last week's tweetlist (Thursday, 12/1/11) of show ad sponsors: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/eg7430, courtesy @Greendale_Love.
NBC executive mailing list: http://bit.ly/ud34hU, courtesy @SaveCommunity3. I've got my stamps, how about you? I'm handwriting them, too, which is the current general advice.
Hulu sponsor list, 12/2/11: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/egj9f4
Snail mail general list; ad sponsors: http://savegreendale.com/?p=36#more-36
If anyone feels that another link is good to have here for reference, please tweet it to me at @violincatherine.
It's time to roll up our sleeves again this week. Ready? Here goes:
1) Please tell everyone you know about next week's episode, Thursday 12/8/11:
Link with promo pictures: http://t.co/NVJJftax
Plot synopsis: http://t.co/FOyInOBb
NBC promo: http://bit.ly/tTPxGU
a) Summary of this post for time-challenged fans: 1) Tell EVERYONE about next Thursday's episode, NBC 8pm. 2) Make and post a funny/surreal video. 3) Reach out to magazines/newspapers. 4) @YoplaitYogurt (http://twitpic.com/7omky7) and all ad sponsors are rockstars; show them support right back. 5) @rerorerocandy said: Has your movement considered creating a tumblr intro to Community w/ clips and then real-world posting QR code links to it? (This is Greek to me. I love you, @rerorerocandy, and I don't even understand what you're saying! I have to look into this. Does anyone have an operational version of this already? Thx!)
2) All right, guys, I think viral videos, connection with ad sponsors, and absolutely bat-crazy INSANE numbers of postings to watch the show are the best way to go here. Viral videos are #1 on my list. Here's the deductive reasoning; please note that many of these things are fixed and cannot currently be changed, so it's best to focus on what we CAN do.
- First point: if you are an improv troupe, filmmaker, standup comedian, comedy writer, marketing whiz, tumblr whiz, professor, social media maven, or ad sponsor with any ideas for ways to help us get a ratings bump and to try to bring in a 4th season, please send me a tweet at @violincatherine or send me an email at my personal email account. Any of you have a built-in rabid fanbase; if you create a funny film that gains us Nielsen viewers, you will be our hero FOR LIFE. Same goes with the other categories of expertise. I'm not joking here.
- OK, you know those donation websites? If you say there are 3 million of us (5 million Nielsen 2 years ago, and I think it's really twice that number now), you could test us out. If we each gave $10 towards a "Save the Show" initiative, that's $30 million. Make it an ad sponsor corporate matching donation program to push it over the top. I don't even care; you can send me a thank you letter with a Troy and Abed in the Morning sticker. Rabid, die-hard fans think alike. Not all of us will want to do this, of course, but I think most of us would jump at the chance to save the show.
- Our demographic is strong, and we can extrapolate our potential fanbase by looking at ourselves. Comic Con participation was a brilliant move by NBC. Think of Monty Python/Eddie Izzard fans. Reach out to Ivy League schools, Cal Tech, employees in Silicon Valley. Can the cast be nominees for Harvard's Hasty Pudding awards? I sent tweets to gaming companies. Dan Harmon is a Skyrim player; gaming is HUGE and there is BIG MONEY there. Collaboration w/Skyrim, BBC, Pythons, Izzard? Has Eddie Izzard said anything publicly about Community? We CAN find and recruit fans.
- Does anyone know the hard figures or metrics which would save the show: money, viewers, product placement? How much does it cost to run the show per year? I don't mind the product placement when it's saving a good show, personally.
- NBC is currently #4 in the ratings. I did not know that until my favorite show, NBC's Community, went on hiatus. It's amazing how you don't know how much you love something until you're in danger of losing it.
- 25,000 Nielsen boxes, kept in secret on TVs across the country (and supposedly meant to be a true statistical snapshot of the nation), are extrapolated to 119 million households. Sometimes DVR viewing is also counted, but not always. The viewing numbers from these set boxes are what ad agencies use to purchase ads from the networks. Community's ads go from $93-98K. This is a VERY low figure.
- I know no one who actually BUYS the ads in the agencies really cares, but there are over a million users on FB and 25K active in Twitter on the #savecommunity hashtag. I offered us up for demographic study, and offered my laptop (where I watch everything) for tracking. My hypothesis is that viewers of this show likely opted out of Nielsen ratings because they are too busy. Being affluent, working late hours, and watching on laptops, that is. Scroll down if you want the demos; I know it doesn't matter. I'll work on viral videos this week and I'll send pleading emails to BBDO/Young Rubicam next week. I don't want to rail against the machine this week when we need eyeballs (Nielsen viewers next Thursday night) NOW.
- NBC needs more viewers overall. Period. A professor friend said the quickest way to make an idea go viral is through actual, real life friends. So please mention the holiday show next Thursday, 8pm on NBC, to everyone you know, OK?
- Guys, it's hard to see the bigger picture or to be innovative when you're bogged down like this. Can you imagine trying to work at NBC, or on this show? We are new to this problem, so we can bring a fresh set of eyes to it. Please send a polite hand-written letter to the executives at NBC, but realize that anything whiny is like a kid begging for more allowance money when the parent is having problems paying the mortgage.
- Last week, I had a HARD time finding the plot synopsis. I personally sent the synopsis to all my favorite online magazines, then tweeted about 350 mainstream newspapers/magazines/organizations across the country on the airdate, near the airtime (papers: http://bit.ly/kbcgL. Magazines: http://bit.ly/14v6Lz; I will repeat this week). Logic: high circulation=more potential Nielsen viewers. Also, there was also a lack of promo from NBC, in addition to numerous bizarre cable outages/delays across the country (hello, where did Pittsburgh go). This week, we have S3E10 advance promo pictures, the TV Guide Fan Favorite magazine cover (it came out on Friday, giving us a week of PR on a high-circulation magazine cover), genuine critical support across the board, and time to work out a viral marketing campaign.
- Interesting article on marketing Red Bull to gamers: http://bit.ly/sOAaVp. All this information applies to our current situation, so I'm looking for ways to reverse engineer the ideas and present them back to the agencies.
- Given the Nielsen system, 210 people=1 million viewers. We need to treat this like a military campaign. Dead simple. Let's think of a Don Quixote, impossible dream. How about trying for 2 million extra viewers, or 420 extra Nielsen households?
- This is where the viral phenomenon is in our favor, OK? On www.youtube.com's home page, the top video of all time (by Bieber, naturally) has 669 million views. This is a crazy number. OK, if we can come up with ideas that are funny enough, tied to the show, we can draw these 420 Nielsen unicorns. It has to be FUNNY. I reached out to an improv troupe today, who specializes in big stunts. For example, my husband and I think it's a funny idea to take a small Christmas tree for a ride on the back of a bicycle, and to talk to it like it's a person. My favorite two viral videos are (both NSFW, so I hesitate to post links) "Acid Can do Some Messed up Things" and "Happy in Paraguay". Please note that the top viral videos GENERALLY involve surreal humor, children, pets, or are from a top current pop star. I'm going to do my best to record some this week. Any ideas to start a flash mob? Should we emulate the Bieber Army and all buy something in unison? I personally switched to Hulu from Netflix today, and told Sony I would buy their products the rest of my life if they would be so kind as to give us Season 4. Is there anything else we can do? Do you guys have any other ideas for viral videos/mass action? What makes sense? Also, straight fan videos are a beautiful thing, so please send them around also. @rerorerocandy mentioned a Rube Goldberg-type video (direct twitter quote: Here are a couple examples http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2C-PWHpPoI Both use their name in the machine). I'm personally thinking of Diet Coke and Mentos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKoB0MHVBvM. He says this would draw in Big Bang Theory fans. Does anyone know a Community fan at a major engineering school with cool experiments? This would be a chance to promote their work also. Rube Goldberg-type things, really fancy robots, anything like that would be good. I'll post to MIT, Cal Tech, and everywhere else. I think Jacka$$ style stunts would be good, too.
- The show is super funny, and please share videos from the show, but what I'm referring to specifically are ways to reach the maximum number of viewers in the shortest time period. So we have to think outside the box, and go into crazy zones.
- But, yes, please share the show videos at the same time. My top picks: Levar Burton (http://bit.ly/hiFh7P), La Biblioteca (http://bit.ly/18tjbG), Chang as gonzo Spanish teacher (http://bit.ly/1ilXKu), Jeff playing naked pool (http://bit.ly/dENGcV), the holiday claymation episode S2E11 (http://bit.ly/m5qH35), Season 2 (http://bit.ly/s50pzH) AND DJ Steve Porter (http://bit.ly/107XzJ) remixes, www.greendalecommunitycollege.com. Please feel free to send these links to your email contacts/post them on Facebook, with a personal note to pass the video along and to watch the show to try to save it. Note that I'm including things that are surreal and that don't involve long punch lines. Also, to NBC/Universal/Sony assets department: 3 of these videos are youtubes. They are not full episodes in the back catalog; they are short clips. I will remove the youtube links in one month (i.e., by 1/4/12). I would like to encourage viral growth of your viewership; that is the only purpose in posting these links. Thank you!
- I've said this over and over on my twitter feed. Please do a google search for Chuck and Subway (and now Cougartown) to understand the power of fans to save a show w/product placement (example: http://bit.ly/uZPS5u). @YoplaitYogurt has been VERY nice to me on Twitter and Facebook. They asked me to spread the word about www.Greek4Good.com, which gives 25K to a local food bank. Please reach out to them. I am working out a meme with my cat: : "Who ate my Yoplait Yogurt?" with the picture of my cat in a goatee. She may not like the goatee, so it may just be a picture of my cat, looking guilty and mischievous as usual. I'm also buying a ton of Yoplait, every week. If you like the cat/pet/other creature/child/husband ate your yogurt idea, PLEASE use it, OK? Like I said, this is a military campaign now and we have to move FAST. Use ALL my ideas if they make sense to you and if they can help NBC. I've been buying things from every sponsor that I can, though. I got my Christmas shopping done at Old Navy already. We love them all!
- My favorite character in Community this week is Leonard (http://bit.ly/vAzD0d). He reviews frozen pizza on youtube as the end tag for S3E9. We can do the same for any of our sponsors, right? We can interact with the product in a silly, goofy way like this. I'm personally thinking to do a pizza review from inside a @PizzaHut this week.
- Let's go back to Marketing 101 in our minds. I don't know how NBC got to be #4 - it's weird to me too - but let's pretend we're starting from scratch. What makes our show hip/cool/funny? Why do you enjoy watching it? What does it give you that no other show gives you? Then twist that idea around, flip it, magnify it or make it the opposite, add another twist, make it SUPER funny/surreal and take a video of it.
- Straight Marketing: STRONG CAST. Joel McHale (E!s Soup and a hottie), Chevy Chase (the LEGEND, playing against type as a lonely, crabby, racist mess), Ken Jeong (Hangover), Alison Brie (Mad Men), Jim Rash (Groundling who freaking co-wrote The Descendants and will one day OWN us all), Donald Glover (Comedy Central stand-up comedian and rapper aka Childish Gambino), Gillian Jacobs (bright shining Juilliard star, praised by NY Times for legit theater work), Danny Pudi (Second City alum), and Yvette Nicole Brown (Drake & Josh). (If I left anyone out, it's because it's 4:30am; please bring it to my attention, OK?) All members of the cast have great chemistry and work well together. The writing is cutting edge and deserves a chance to breathe and develop. There is NOTHING else like it on TV; the only thing that comes close is Monthy Python crossed with Cheers, but in a community college instead of in a bar. The cast is multiracial, and the characters are portrayed as human beings, not caricatures. A gang of misfits finds a sense of belonging in a Community College. Dan Harmon uses a unique "embryo" writing style, grounded in the work of myth-explainer/mystic Joseph Campbell: http://bit.ly/mT6zVd. In a dorm, we have: paintball/STD fairs/a SPACE BUS/blanket forts. John Goodman plays a power crazy HVAC dean. AMAZING guest stars include: Bette White, Luis Guzman, Dan Harmon (creator), Nick Kroll, Taran Killam, et al.
- I LOVE the CBS shows too. Remember, though, this is a military campaign. If one of their shows was in trouble, we'd watch it to help them out if our friends asked us. So ask CBS viewers sweetly, but please ask them to watch NBC for a little while, OK? All's fair in love and war. This is both.
Love to all you guys,
(P.S. - Universal, parent company of NBC, also owns Hulu, right? So I'm VERY happy to switch from Netflix to Hulu, personally. I don't care if there are ads; I can watch all the current shows and help my own. Also, my favorite actor is Colin Firth, and Netflix had some mothballed B movies of his on tap. I actually bought the Firth "Pride and Prejudice" because I was DYING. No drama here to switch. Qwikster; raise my fees 100%; whee! -CB)
(P.P.S. - Anyone who is being a jerk on the Internet, trying to tear down our "Save the Show" initiative, is a dill weed trolling for eyeballs. Don't even bother taking the time to reply; we need you to spend your energy writing a silly song/skit about the show and posting in on youtube. Also consider sending emails/tweets to your favorite media/products/ad sponsors/organizations. Since we have a limited time frame until the hiatus, we need to use the time wisely this week. We'll deal with the haters with a proper "Up your nose with a rubber hose" when we get a 4th season. Thank you! xoxo CB)
(P.P.P.S. - I know this is wordy. I do apologize. Also, I'm sure I forgot something tonight, so I'll add it when I've had some sleep. I keep joking, saying I'm like a Twilight girl, or it's like I'm in some kind of mindless cult. Differences: I have no Kool Aid. If I meet the cast, I'll act like a normal person, because I see them as happily employed actors. It's the writers I idolize, but if I ever meet them, I will run and hide and I will NOT scream. (NBC, I ask nothing of you, except please don't lay anybody off, OK? I read that you laid a show writer off today and I'm still in the shock/denial phase. Just don't! Give us this one chance to make a big Don Quixote tilt at the windmills, OK? Gosh!) I will not camp in a tent to see the cast/writers. I LOVE DVD commentary and eat it up like fancy limited-edition holiday chocolate. The writing work is actual quality work. I crunch Nielsen numbers while driving. xoxo CB)