One of my latest TV obsessions has been NBC’s The Voice. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the show, The Voice is a reality singing competition that features four celebrity coaches and exposes the phenomenal voices of individuals all across the U.S., which are all battling for a chance to be America’s next star. This show (to me at least) has it all: excitement, good looking coaches (ahem, Adam Levine), and of course, incredibly talented musicians.
I’ve been a Voice fan since the very first season, mostly due to the interaction component within the show. I’m not just talking about how viewers’ votes reflect how the show continues, but about the strategic use of social media as part of TV content. As a way to eliminate the noise that clutters reality singing competitions on TV, The Voice made its mark by integrating Twitter as part of a marketing tactic to create buzz about the show and spark online conversations with its viewers.
For example, during the blind auditions, the contestants perform for the celebrity coaches for the first time and if they’re successful, the contestants get to pick one of the four coaches as their mentor. As soon as a decision is made, a tweet pops up expressing the contestant’s thoughts about their performance. In the same way, coaches explain what they like about a performance or performer, how they feel when they don’t get chosen as the mentor, or simply express their moods at any moment in the show. This technique creates so much brand exposure not only for the show itself, but also for the contestants and coaches and makes it incredibly easy for viewers to stay on top of the latest Voice updates. And as a result, The Voice has delivered the highest rating on a major broadcast network and was the first new primetime series to increase total viewers from its first week to its second. If that is not solid proof of a successful integrated campaign, then I don’t know what is.
Other popular TV series that have adopted this concept include Scandal, Project Runway and Grey’s Anatomy. Ellen Pompeo provides sneak peaks of upcoming episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on via her personal social accounts, Kerri Washington calls on her “Gladiators” via Facebook and Twitter to remind Scandal fans to tune in to the show, and the designers of Project Runway rate their competitions’ runway looks via brief video snippets shown during commercial breaks. It is safe to say that integrating social media as part of TV show content has become an important phenomenon in creating a TV series targeted to certain demographics and while The Voice has set the bar high, my guess is that it will soon become the new norm for broadcast.
Written by Stefanie Pascacio