It’s shallow, silly, self-serving and at times, just plain tasteless. No wonder TV fans can’t get enough of America’s Got Talent. And with 15 million viewers tuning in to watch this year’s season premiere of “AGT” —it’s clear that advertisers are equally enthralled. How did an overblown talent show garner this kind of clout and recognition? Through a brilliant marketing strategy, that’s how. Let’s tune in to the 5 biggest reasons America’s Got Talent for marketing.
1. AGT Fills a Huge Gap
If television truly is the barren wasteland that critics purport it to be, then the gap in new programming between Memorial Day and Labor Day could be likened to the lunar landscape. Recognizing an opportunity, and riding upon the success of AGT’s wildly popular British predecessor, the producers of America’s Got Talent proceeded to fill in the gap. And so, as the traditional TV season signs off for the summer, AGT takes center stage. But the smart marketing ploy doesn’t stop there. Ignoring the predictable, one episode per week format of prime time TV, AGT producers chose to mix things up by airing episodes once, twice, even three or more times per week if you count the reruns, many of which are still better than most summer fare. Starting out with pre-taped audition shows filmed in cities all across the country, AGT then ups the ante by airing key episodes live, to the dismay of contestants and the delight of the home viewers.
2. AGT is America
From senior citizen sword swallowers to child opera singers to transgender trampoline acts to, well, you name it, AGT welcomes all comers— any age, any gender, any race, any species, from any part of the good ol’ USA. With a melting pot message like that, it’s little wonder why AGT appeals to pretty much every marketing demographic there is. Plain and simple, America likes to watch itself, and this year 17% more American adults are doing just that by tuning in to AGT. While most TV shows eventually lose market share over time, so far AGT is grabbing a bigger slice of the multi-flavored pie with each new season.
3. AGT is Entertaining
Love it or hate it, the one thing you have to admit is that AGT is flat out entertaining. The genius stroke is in the concept, a talent show packaged as reality television… with America as the final judge. Aside from the vast array of acts, when you watch AGT, you’re rooting for that part of you who would like to be up on that stage, with the guts to put whatever “talent” you may have, not just up for all to see, but up to a vote. And in the safety of your living room you can indulge freely in the guilty little pleasures that come with anonymity, delighting in both triumphs and downfalls, all the while knowing that, given the chance, you or the pet beside you could be the next Million-dollar act.
4. AGT is Unpredictable
Aside from the antics of the folks onstage, on any given night, Sharon, Howie, and Piers can hit us with more “surprise pies” than Larry, Curly and Moe. “Howie’s gonna love this group,” you say to yourself. And then he gives them the buzzer. “Piers is gonna send this bird act packing,” yeah right, packing for Vegas. Even the always charming and radiant Sharon can render decisions, based on logic, emotion, or the curious combination of both, that we just didn’t see coming. The bottom line of AGT’s unpredictably is that it keeps things fresh, keeps us tuned in, and that’s always good for the other bottom line.
5. AGT is Viral
In this age of Social Media, an age that allows and encourages us all to post and promote our opinions about pretty much anything, nobody mines the collective gold of an interactive audience as well as AGT. And the show’s innate ability to deliver up “Tweetable”, “Likeable”, made for Youtube content will continue to keep it the ratings juggernaut that it is. Sure, it’s a glorified talent show. But it’s a “sticky” talent show. A show that, at the end of the day and the end of the episode, invites its ever growing fan base to hold their web-enabled cellphones high and say, “I’ll be the judge of that.” And that’s a marketing strategy that America just can’t seem to resist.
Carla Sanchez is a freelance writer for Omniture, the world leader at marketing analytics.
Image source: Wikipedia