gossip girl

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I’ll soon be sending my son off to college and he has no real reading skills. Were college conducted as a videogame he’d be golden.  Some college kids in journalism class, by a show of hands, have never read a newspaper. Magazines for teens, tweens and millennials…well you get my drift.

 

TV, computer and mobile phones are the media of choice for kids.  Product placement on those screens is a viable investment for marketers. But product placement is a funny thing; it can be amazingly persuasive or it can fall flat. When well integrated into a story it’s a beautiful, ferociously effective selling tactic. Yet when slapped into a story without finesse, it just lies there like a stanky flip-flop. If a cast member of Gossip Girl drinks a bottle of Honest Tea, it’s “passive” and smart. When the Celebrity Apprentice builds a project around, say, a Maybelline cosmetic, it’s “active” and weak. 

 

Forced product placement sticks out and everyone recognizes it. It just doesn’t feel right. As marketers we need to minimize that smelly flip-lop or we’ll alienate consumers young and not so.

 

 

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A friend and co-worker of mine is an investor in a trendy clothing company called Heatherette. Heatherette’s key designers, Richie Rich and Traver Rains, throw a runway show during New York Fashion Week that one is unlikely to forget. The Fall show had on its runway Lil Mama, Jenna Jameson and Kim Kardashian. Anyway, I’m a big Gossip Girl fan and Richie (especially) and Travers are quite camera friendly and animated, so I told my friend he should contact the show producers and try and get a Heatherette product placement or, better yet, Richie and Travers written into a show storyline.
 
Apparently the PR person didn’t think it a good idea. Too bad.
 
 
It seems that though the TV show isn’t off the charts in terms of weekly viewers, its loyal followers are buying the fashions worn on the show ass-over-tea-kettle; some kids and young women, in fact, are walking into stores with magazine pages showing the kilts, blazers, etc. they can’t live without.
 
This fish definitely got away.
 
 

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Over the weekend there was a great article in The New York Times about one of my favorite new TV shows, Gossip Girl. The acting is superb, as is the writing. The characters, art direction, cinematography (What do that call that on TV? Videography?) and dialogue, brilliantly capture the lives a bunch of snooty, rich, high school kids and parents who live on New York’s Upper East Side.
 
The article compared Gossip Girl to two reality shows currently following similar story paths: “The Hills” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”  The writer suggested the reality shows paled in comparison. 
 
Don’t get me wrong, I love real people, but Gossip Girl is emotionally wrenching. It’s anthropologic in its ethnography. A wonderful time-capsule of the ethos, albeit somewhat overplayed. Yet as entertainment, Gossip Girl is much more real than reality TV. Check it out! Oh yeah, the finale is tonight.
 
PS. Props to 72 and Sunny, for the cool ad.

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Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl premiered last night on the CW network and it was a pisser. It’s Law and Order for teens, without the Law. Part cartoon, part social commentary, part drama, it provides lots of vicarious living for viewers.
 
Josh Schwartz, the creator, may still be feeling his way around but I think he’s going to settle in after a while. The actors are fresh with a few exceptions, and the script though a little weak now, shows signs of promise.
 
You know how you look back on old TV shows and see how the culture has changed? Well put this on in a time capsule and wait a few years. When we look back we’re not going to believe NYC kids circa 2007.
 
Oh, and through all of the pot smoking, martini drinking, various flavors of “the nasty,” you won’t see any cigarette smoking. The show has a social conscience? Hee hee.
 

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