Reality TV Reflects Demand for Transparency

Bad hair, loud mouth, business challenges - the right ingredients for reality TV

Bad hair, loud mouth, interesting business challenges - the right ingredients for reality TV

My name is Brian and I am an addict. “We love you, Brian”

Seriously though, there must be a support group for my addiction. I am addicted to Reality TV. I know that, for many of you, puts me at about the same level as WWE fans and Dungeons and Dragons nerds, but I can’t help myself. The reality (no pun intended) is, I think reality TV is like boy bands, we all make fun of them but when you are alone in the car and their songs play on the radio, you can’t help but sing along. I believe that deep down inside, we are all reality TV fans.

I didn’t realize I had a problem until I sat down and counted out all of the shows I enjoy

  • The Apprentice
  • American Idol
  • Last Comic Standing
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Supernanny
  • The Moment of Truth
  • Baby Borrowers (great new one on NBC filmed here in the Boise area)
  • Celebrity Circus
  • The Amazing Race
  • The Bachelor
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

HOLY CRAP! I have a problem. Granted, I don’t catch every episode of these and I also enjoy the good stuff like Lost, The Office, Heros, and Chuck. However, you can’t tell me that you haven’t caught an episode or two of one of the above shows.

I can understand Hollywood’s fascination with reality TV. Low budget and great ratings. But what is the secret behind America’s fascination with reality TV?

I believe it comes down to what I have mentioned several times before. Consumers are demanding transparency in everything from the products and services they buy to the TV shows they watch. Now, everyone knows that fancy editing and dramatic music are added to reality TV to spice it up and lead the viewer in a specific direction (my favorite was the regal fanfare that accompanied an entrance by The Donald). However, there is something to be said for watching real human beings going through unique experiences and feeling the raw emotion right along with them.

If you doubt what I am saying, do a Google search on any one of these shows and 90% of the listings will be fan sites, blogs, message boards, and comments from viewers and fans experiencing the show right along with the participants. It is called reality TV for a reason, it’s real. As a society, we have been fed propaganda for so long by corporate marketing departments, Hollywood, and news bureaus that we are all looking for a little reality in our lives.

What can marketers learn from the reality TV craze? Put a little more reality into your marketing. Implement Web 2.0 tools to give customers and prospects a bird’s eye view into your organization. Think of it as your own company reality TV show. Show them the good and the bad. Give them a reason to become engaged.

If this type of approach scares you, maybe you need to take a look at what your organization would look like to an objective observer. If your organization resembles Joan Rivers (rotting corpse covered up by a lot of Collagen injections, stretched skin, and make up), maybe you have some changes to make. With the explosion of social media, the truth will get out; whether by your employees, customers, or outside observers.

What kind of transparency would you like to see from some of your favorite brands?


3 thoughts on “Reality TV Reflects Demand for Transparency

  1. Pingback: Remmrit Bookmarking

  2. I train anyone to work in reality TV, that’s my business. I suppose that a reality show about my training program would make perfect sense: it’s the ultimate in transparency and my students can shoot it (me) while learning the skills they need to successfully freelance.

    Any thoughts on this? Would this be going too far?

    Aaron Murphy

  3. Interesting perspective from inside the industry. Personally, I would watch that in a heartbeat. I am intrigued with the behind the scenes process of making reality TV and, yes, that would be the ultimate in transparency. That’s what has made the Discovery Channel so popular.

    You’ll always have reality TV snobs who think themselves above the rest of us but you know their Tivos are filled with Jerry Springer re-runs.

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