Sunday, November 2, 2008

Zalaznick: Bravo's Postmodern Queen

Yesterday, the New York Times Magazine had a
terrific lead story about Lauren Zalaznick, the head of Bravo Media, a network within the NBC Universal family.

This article is required reading for all B!G Associates.
Think of it like a case article from your course kit, only this one you'll actually read!

It’s a comprehensive assessment of how marketers now focus on the ‘long tail’ of consumers and the maturation of postmodern content in our lives – we recognize it, and we recognize that we are being recognized for recognizing it (think it through, it makes sense!).

Zalaznick has monetized Bravo’s programming in unique ways and has created shows that appeal to the core viewer’s aspirational values. The core viewers are, as the article describes, ‘Will & Grace’. Hip professional urban women and gay men who, although not affluent themselves, are culturally influential and possess the kind of disposable income that higher-end marketers salivate over. Zalaznick describes them as ‘the Affluencers’.

Evaluating Bravo's programming,

“What has made the programming watchable, all along, is the same thing that might keep it relevant as the economy changes, which is a certain winking skepticism about buying and selling. It’s what’s ingenious, or insidious, depending on the perspective, about the complexity of the Bravo programming.”

The whole brand is conspicuous and self-referential, turning the spotlight on real people in real situations, but without the forced scenarios that can often debase other reality shows and commit the cardinal sin of television – breaking the fourth wall. Bravo’s success is based on the fact that they acknowledge the fourth wall and interact with the viewer in relevant ways.
That’s the reality.

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