Just when we think that all venues of promoting and advertising have been explored, something nude… I mean new catches our attention. Recently, FX’s adult animated series Archer promoted its 5th season, which premiered January 13th, in a surprising way. The Archer team posted nude photos of it’s animated cast to Reddit, an online “anything goes” forum where the photos were quickly viewed by thousands of members.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Reddit, it is a user-generated social news and entertainment website. Users can post anything they desire and rate other posts as well. The audience of the medium is predominately young males, which is also Archer’s target audience. I am certain that this is no accident. Reddit users were immediately able to recognize their favorite animated characters in these staged Reddit posts acting as actual Reddit users. The Archer photos were actually paid for advertisements placed on the sides of the gone wild forum, blending in with the rest of the posts.
The medium that the Archer team used to send out their humorous promotions was absolutely perfect for their purposes. All over the web people are taking the time to post and comment on how Archer has made a brilliant PR move and their inventive way of reaching their target demographic. The story of Archer’s recent brilliance relates to the theory of Media Ecology proposed by Marshall McLuhan in 1964. The theory can be best summarized in McLuhan’s words, “The medium is the message.”
Although the content of a message is important, it could not exist without the medium in which it is delivered. The same story could be told through many different mediums, ultimately making them different stories. The Archer team chose to use the internet and more specifically, Reddit, as the medium to promote their show. This story would not have been the same on a television commercial or a print advertisement in a news paper. The medium in which it was sent gave it identity and meaning.
When people are posting about these advertisements, they are not commenting on the nude photos or the plugs for the new season. They are posting about the fact that they were posted on Reddit waiting for their target audience to discover it. The medium was the message, and it was successfully recognized and received.
– Rachel Gracy