Fox Network’s Low Ratings Highlighted Before Upfronts

 Fox Network’s Low Ratings Highlighted Before Upfronts

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for the Fox network (pictured: advert for Fox’s upcoming series Gotham).

This week, advertisers flock to New York City for upfronts—parties, meet-and-greets with celebrities, and previews from networks of new fall TV offerings. This is when advertisers decide which networks and shows will share nearly $16 billion in ad dollars. Among talk of the upfronts, one recurring theme emerges: how badly the Fox network needs a hit.

A series of hits, actually, to make up for once mighty shows that have dropped precipitously in ratings. Take American Idol, which during one season had 30 million viewers glued to Fox. Now it averages less than 7 million. Another former hit, Glee, is also viewer anemic. “Fox has the most to prove,” said David Campanelli, senior VP and director for national television at Horizon Media to the New York Times.

Toward that end, Fox started buzz with Gotham, their big gun, which tells the story of a young Bruce Wayne, pre-Batman cape, and a young(er) Jim Gordon, pre-commissioner title. The drama melds popular TV themes of cop show with teens (yes, there are young versions of Catwoman, Joker, et al), and a hit movie genre, comic book heroes. Gotham’s trailer does look like one of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. Will it save Fox? A few days, a few cocktails, and a few billion dollars will tell.

THE PR VERDICT: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Fox, if the network can turn the conversation from their need to advertisers’ want.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Ostriches can’t just take their heads out of the sand; they have to do something. Fox could say things are tough all over—they certainly aren’t the only network feeling the sting of failing shows, viewers who fast forward through commercials while watching recorded programs, and other ad-dollar losses. But Fox is suffering more than most networks, and their PR job is to generate buzz about Gotham and other shows, and get it off their ratings plunge.

Goldman Sachs, Marriage Equality and Atypical Advocates

BlankfeinMarriage1 300x205 Goldman Sachs, Marriage Equality and Atypical Advocates

THE PR VERDICT: "B" for HRC and Blankfein

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, surprised everyone yesterday with his decision to become the first national corporate spokesman for same sex marriage. He has teamed up with Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national advocacy organization that promotes LGBT rights.

HRC reasons that their unlikely spokesperson will demonstrate the diversity of Americans rallying around this issue. A neat and clever idea.

The NYTimes gave the news a big splash and HRC issued a video with Blankfein impressively declaring that equality is “good business and is the right thing to do”.  This PR strategy works on all fronts and incidentally helps correct Blankfein’s image as the Gotham villain in the financial crisis.

The PR Verdict: “B” for HRC and Blankfein.  This is an impressive PR strategy that changes the conversation and widens the supporter base from the predictable liberal, creative, establishment.

Blankfein should avoid responding with “no comment” as he gave the NYTimes and share personal thoughts about why he is doing this. “Good for business” is a sensible rallying cry but coming from an industry that has been demonized of late, wider more personal observations will kick this campaign into high gear.

Video below :

Lloyd Blankfein on Marriage Equality – HRC