“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

2 thoughts on ““How REAL Will American Idol Get This Season?”

  1. I have watched American Idol every year for as long as I can remember. My father and I have loved watching the show together and commenting on the singer’s performance, the judges’ critics, and the overall quality of the show. The last full season I watched with excitement and interest was season 8 or 9. Over the years I agree that American Idol has dropped in popularity, it certainly has for me. I believe the main plunge of the show was when Simon Cowell left. He had good reason and intentions, however with his presence absent, the show truly started to crumble. The singing competition genre has grown with X-Factor, Americas Got Talent, The Voice, and The Sing Off. With these new competitive shows it has been harder for American Idol to stand out. True, American Idol has a pioneer advantage, however the perception from many of the audience viewers is that it is now overrated. It is overdone.

    This new marketing strategy for this year’s season is interesting. Although the producers are pushing for a more intimate connection with the contestants and audience, it is not a new strategy. They have used this in all the past seasons. I have only watched one episode of this year’s season, and besides the dynamic and layout of the competition, the feature stories of the contestants have remained the same as in previous seasons. I do not feel as if the producers’ jump to focus on the backgrounds of the contestants is a novel idea. Maybe they are focusing more on it this year, however they have used it in the past. I was a previous die-hard American Idol fan, but not any more. I believe its peak was in season 7. It will be interesting to see the ratings for this year’s season. I am not sure how much longer American Idol will last, or should last.

  2. Although I have not watched every season of American Idol, one thing I did notice when I watched it was the fact that the judges always had some sort of drama going on. This made it seem as if the show was about them and not about all of the contestants who have worked so hard to get to this point. Before the contestants get to the actual American Idol show, I’m sure they have gone through so many events to “weed out” the bad contestants. This being said, I really agree with their new approach to the season and the fact that they are actually putting a story about where they came from and why they wanted to be the next American Idol. I believe this will boost the ratings for the show.

    The fact that the producers have decided to include a twitter conversation during the show should help with the ratings, as well. Overall, Twitter and social media have the ability to involve the audience and make the event very interactive. This, indeed, will reach out to the younger audience. Once the younger population gets involved and the producers can keep it interesting, American Idol will be able to get back to the top with their viewer ratings and continue to find new artists for the music industry. Keep doing what you’re doing American Idol!

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