Sex Sells, But So Does Good Clean Fun
James and I were having a conversation the other day about the success of "G" rated movies. Pixar's success has gotten a lot of investors excited about the market for family entertainment. But too often it seems like family entertainment=animated pictures. James correctly, I think, noted that the market isn't for just for animated flicks, it's broader. It's for good entertainment. Just as every marketer knows that "sex sells", it's also true that people enjoy "good Seclean fun".
I think the idea that people actually want quality entertainment is something that goes over the heads of most Hollywood executives. They see the success of a show like "Desperate Housewives" and they'll greenlight a bunch of inferior sexy nighttime soaps, much like "Survivor" spawned reality shows and "Friends" inspired a slew of urban comedies. Of course, the key to these shows wasn't that they tapped into a genre that Americans were desperate (pardon the pun) for, but rather because they were all good at what they did.
(On a side note, the success of Desperate Housewives does, I think, help prove that my Melrose Place Equivalency Test is valid. My theory is that the former stars of Melrose Place (Desperate Housewives features Marcia Cross and Doug Savant) are almost uniformly appealing, attractive and good actors (Andrew Shue excluded). They should prove an asset to almost any project, even though they're not big names. In TV and movies, so many projects are star-driven, but is the idea really any good? The MPET can help you determine that. If, when you're pitching a show or movie, it sounds just as good and marketable with a Melrose Place star, you've got a winner. For example, when you're pitching a Rob Lowe pilot, ask yourself, "would it work with Thomas Calabros (Michael)?". If the answer is yes, it's a hit. These are some other Melrose Place equivalents to keep in mind: Laura Leighton (Sidney)=Jennifer Aniston, Marcia Cross (Kimberly)=Nicole Kidman, Jack Wagner (Peter)=George Clooney, Grant Show (Jake-sigh!)=Brad Pitt.)
Entertainment industry executives, like so many of us, are looking for easy answers (so hey, they should love the MPET!). If "Desperate Housewives" is a huge hit, it means "Americans want sex!". If a hyped show like "Joey" flops, it means that "sitcoms are dead!". It reminds me a little bit of the aftermath of the Presidential election. The immediate reaction was that Bush won because of "moral values" and so the Democrats had to either appeal to, or neuter, the Religious Right.
I think they're both learning the wrong lessons. The elusive key to success isn't "be a copycat". A person with a good idea can still persuade the rest of us to buy it, watch it or vote for it. And people with bad ideas will simply complain, criticize and offer no alternatives. Hmm, does that sound like anyone we know?
Posted by at May 14, 2005 07:19 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/904
|# May 14th, 2005 11:03 PM TheUnabrewer|
|The only thing I understood there was "Bush won" and "Nicole Kidman". |