Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Name Is Earl: Drives Traffic Online and Adds Viewers

You know the kind of guy who does nothing but watch TV and analyze it on the net, then wonders why his friends think he's crazy? Well, that was me. Every time I watched something good or bad on TV, something had to be posted on the internet. That’s when I realized I had to change. My name is JP.

I really enjoy the show My Name Is Earl. I started watching it because I would turn on the TiVo early so I could fast-forward the commercials during The Office. The last episode of the show, "Kept a Guy Locked in a Truck" the character Josh gets killed in a tragic murphy bed incident. wait... let me rewind.

Joy, Earl's ex-wife, wanted to get back at a store for refusing her return, so in retribution, she stole one of the store's delivery trucks. She enlisted Earl to help, which he did because he was trying to make up his past sins toward Joy. They hide the truck for a few days. When they open it up, they find that there was an employee "Josh" locked in the truck. Eventually, Joy was booked for kidnapping and Josh was the only witness. Well, in the last episode, Josh dies when his murphy bed snaps back into the wall and crushes him.

As the story progresses, we find that Josh is a regular poster to the TV forum, review and recap site, Television Without Pity under the name "whojackie". During the show, he's shown typing on his computer and saying:

"No, I don’t think shows should do more meta jokes that cater to the online bloggers and I’m sure everyone at Television Without Pity Dot Com agrees with me."
Turns out that whojackie has been an active member for over two years, and on the day the show airs, there's a post from whojackie. Later on in the show, Joy tries to find friends to attend Josh's funeral and posts to the wide wide world of web.

My point is that NBC is brilliantly driving people online, in a round-about way to consume their content. Giving a shout out to Television Without Pity is a great way to create buzz among fans, give interaction between the stars and their fans and create a level of "reality" that's just fun and unique.

Later on in the thread, there are people who hadn't seen the show hear about what happened, and what they've done is watch some of the shows that NBC has on their site and they've been converted into viewers. Another thing that the producers of My Name is Earl does, is set up, through TWoP, a "whojackie Memorial", where all proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Brilliant move for NBC, Greg Garcia and the entire show. Not only did they create perfect viral buzz among their target market, they did so well, that they're adding new viewers because of the efforts. They deserve every accolade they get, and more.

Freaking Brilliant

PS: Shout-out to Koenig
Edit: Crabman responds
Edit: Josh's death foreshadowed from Dec.

1 comment:

scott said...

Nice find JP, this is brilliant.