Mostly because the fans have more than proven their mettle by producing the biggest show cancellation protest in history. In fact, watching the nuts total exceed 31,000 pounds over at NUTSOnline is only one measure of their wildly successful campaign. Within hours, they raised almost $8,000 in disaster relief for the tornado ravaged town of Greensburg, Kansas (ending claims that Jericho Rangers could put their time to better use). They are also a chip shot away from reaching 100,000 signatures.
Yesterday, upon learning I wrote about a controversy in my hometown, they sent me a “thank you” for the day before — thousands of visitors in the course of two hours. This kind of movement really makes me wonder if CBS recognizes that the Jericho Rangers are adding numbers faster than any are getting tired out (and even those that are tired do not seem willing to give up, much like they won’t be discouraged by negative posts that are beginning to pop up on the CBS Jericho message boards).
What CBS is also missing is that this movement is much bigger than the CBS Jericho message board. If it continues, I don’t know how long Jericho Lives will be able to contain it and that would mean all bets are off for Moonves. Still, since all of this has taken on a life of its own, some of my team members started kicking around what would happen if we did toss over a few solutions for the Jericho Rangers. After all, fair is fair …
Solution One: Tighten Your Message. Everybody “diggs” the nuts campaign for its novelty. And it continues to generate buzz at various news bureaus. But what is sometimes missing are those clear, crisp speaking points about the show: tell people why this isn’t just another sci-fi serial with diehard fans (it’s not). Reinforce your doubts that Nielsen accurately captured the show’s ratings.
Solution Two: Expand Your Base. When you think your Ranger growth is slowing, round up friends, family, and neighbors to your cause. Sure, they might never have seen Jericho, but they will support the show if you ask them: sign the petition, buy some nuts, or mail a pre-stamped pre-addressed postcard. This could tip the balance, keep it in the mainstream, and engage more people.
Solution Three: Local Speakers. Several times throughout the campaign, Jericho Rangers have come close to missing in-person interviews with local broadcast companies, especially CBS affiliates. It would be advantageous to locate and identify speakers before you need them in mid-sized and major cities across America.
Solution Four: Affiliate Buy-in. Probably because CBS affiliates are much closer to the fan base, they seem eager to report on the protest. I can only imagine, but part of the reason is associated with the local affiliates being able to sell the show. Besides, if they cover it, other non-affiliated stations might follow suit with their own spin. Local stations borrow stories all the time.
Solution Five: Star Power. Sure, the fans have kicked around star power for some time, but they have yet to make it connect. The secret is to secure celebrities not affiliated with CBS or any other network. Designate a team (but don’t overwhelm them) to contact publicists who want their client on the front cover of Star Magazine saying “nuts to CBS” or simply something nice about Jericho actors, writers, or producers. The reward: 8-9 million moviegoers.
Solution Six: Forget Rumors. If anything distracts this fan base the most, it must be the constant buzz of rumors. Just the other day, on Shaun O Mac’s online radio show, Stephen Scaia mentioned the Jericho set is still standing. Look, we all know the fans already secured a wrap-up so a working set only makes sense. Enjoy these rumors but stay focused until CBS says “yes, season two.” Then celebrate.
Solution Seven: Reporters Rock. Don’t get me wrong. The first rule in media relations is appreciating that the media is never your friend. They will report your missteps as quickly as your successes (it’s their job). With Jericho fans, however, there is a bit of a twist. You’ve won most of them over. So please, don’t dismiss or ditch them when a story doesn’t go your way. They’ll respect you for accepting a setback and be more willing to consider a follow-up.
So there you have it: seven solutions for Jericho Rangers. I could float a dozen more because grassroots campaigning comes pretty natural for someone who has worked on a few political campaigns and community causes. But these seem to fit best with your most pressing needs. Most will simply move you to the next level, which reminds me…
Never turn off a fundraising effort when it is working. If you are raising money faster than you can spend it, there is always the next advertisement in the next publication. If the campaign ends before CBS comes to its senses, then you can always donate the proceeds to Greensburg, Kansas, or wherever you wish. Who knows? Maybe some can be slated as seed money for the convention or, even better, help fund Rangers to make more group appearances. You need some.
In closing, always keep faith in your friendships, even when the numbers don’t seem to add up in your favor. If I had a nickel for each win that I was told couldn’t be won, I’d be ready to retire.
The bottom line: all of this comes down to CBS making a choice, just not the one that you or they think. It’s not the show; it’s the headline: CBS Saves Jericho … or CBS Says ‘Nuts’ To Customers.
If I were a shareholder, I would hope they’d pick the former and not the latter, because the latter is a loss. Even Mr. Moonves would have to agree with me that shareholders like to pick winning decisions, not losing ones. Or maybe not. To each his own. But if CBS were one of my investments (it’s not today), I’d be voting someone off the island.