“How REAL Will American Idol Get This Season?”

It’s that time of year again! All our favorite shows are returning, after a seemingly long-awaited hiatus. The longest running singing competition, American Idol, has returned for its thirteenth season. But this season, Idol has been forced to change things up. The show is taking on a fresh, new approach to increase the amount of viewers by revamping their marketing schemes.

In previous seasons, the show directed promotions towards the judges, featured cities, and upcoming drama. The initial aspirations of the show to seek out raw talent has slipped within the past seasons and in return, turned away viewers. At the shows peak, American Idol attracted 30.4 million viewers in season eight. Since then, viewer ratings have only decreased and reached an all time low with 14.3 million viewers for season twelve. As a result, Fox has decided to rebrand the show by bringing in a new team of producers, less drama-filled judges, and a more heartwarming advertising campaign.

Within the past seasons, focuses of promoting the show featured drama among the judging panel rather than the actual talent of the contestants. Producers recently have realized the show has drifted away from the heart and original purpose of the show–discovering real people with real talent around the country. In an effort to rebrand their image, season thirteen marketers began focusing on the background stories of the contestants in hopes to return Idol to its initial purpose.

American Idol

One component of the new advertising campaign features eight contestants in their hometowns sharing their personal motivations as to why they sing. Producers felt this new type of advertisement would help viewers identify with the stories and be able to relate to the contestants. Viewers are invited to participate in the hopeful journey of the “average Joe’s” transformation into a superstar.

American Idol’s new video promotion of the upcoming season also focuses on introducing new contestants and excluding any drama or glamour of the judges (hallelujah). In addition to highlighting real contestants, marketers have incorporated social media by producing a new tag line for the show, #ThisIsReal, to encourage audience conversations on Twitter. Producers hope that the incorporation of social media marketing will increase the show’s ratings and reputation. The advertising of real people and their real aspirations are designed to appeal to a variety of audiences on social media platforms, especially the younger demographics.

By incorporating a variety of platforms such as television, print and social media, American Idol hopes to attract a wide array of audiences through this new and improved IMC campaign. Do you think this new campaign will be effective in increasing and engaging audiences? Or will American Idol continue its downward spiral?

-Briana McWhirter, Emily Foulke, Hannah Turner