Saturday, June 9

Crunching Nuts: Jericho Wrap-Up


Just a few weeks ago, Jericho fan Jeff Knoll had a somewhat nutty idea. If the fans could hook up with a nut company, they might be able to pool enough money to buy "a few hundred pounds."

If ever there was an underestimated measure of success, this was it. Fans not only sent a few hundred pounds, they sent a few thousand pounds — 40,297 pounds to be exact. And that doesn't count the nuts that were bought elsewhere.

Yesterday, two pounds from NutsOnline.com landed on my doorstep. Fortunately for me, they were a thank you instead of protest flack (rumor has it I may never write about Jericho again. Hmmm ... spoiler warning ahead).

Given all the what-for about "blogola" lately, I did what any ethical writer would do. I'm disclosing today that I ate some with a clear conscience. They are just as "yummy" as the bag claims. Thanks.

Not so yummy were portions of Nina Tassler's announcement to the fans last Wednesday. I couldn't bring myself to mention them on June 6 because it would have only distracted from the celebratory success of the fans. In wrapping up the show protest, I'd be remiss not to bring it up now.

"A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available."

If there was ever an inappropriate time to bring up the point, it was certainly in the same graph that praises the following of fans. It smacks of a parent telling a child what to do and when to do it, and that comes from associates of mine who weren't fans but knew I had been "covering nuts" since the beginning. Is it any wonder why CBS and Les Moonves come under fire so often?

CBS is fortunate the fans love the show so much that they've already forgiven this transgression and moved on to marketing the show. They might not be this forgiving next time around.

It's also not the first time that CBS slipped with statement writing (or marketing for that matter). I submit that CBS created the fan outcry with a single line on May 18 when another post penned by Tassler read: "In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to provide closure to the compelling drama that was the Jericho story."

Had the statement held back even a little bit — "In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to see what we can do." — Jericho fans would have had a much more difficult time mounting a movement (but I'm glad they were able to pull together the biggest).

Wow. The difference a few words can make when one underestimates a crisis communication situation. No matter, I suppose, unless you are one of the few subscribing to the conspiracy theory that CBS orchestrated the whole thing. I don't think they did, but then again, crazier things have been known to happen.

For me, what started as a crisis communication case study shifted into a study of social media mobilization that might wake up some public relations professionals and communicators who are still sleeping comfortably in corporate tradition. (Case in point: it just happened here in Las Vegas too; Wynn Las Vegas dealers became the first dealers in the history to unionize because the employees could connect on the Internet.) I'm not surprised.

Social media — blogs, vlogs, wikis, podcasts, networks, and scores of other tools — represent a significant shift in communication tactics. It also allows almost any group, with the right objective and rally cry, to come together and change a company, industry, or even the world.

For my part, I enjoyed writing about the show cancellation protest because of what it represents and the spirited nature of the fan base. Some people said I was "nuts" to cover it so much, but only because they didn't bother to look behind the literal lines and notice that today's Jericho might be tomorrow's social media crisis for "company X." Will company X be ready? Probably not.

The fans of Jericho have been an awesome addition to the people I know and admire online. Enough so that our Jericho round up is almost too good to let go. Sure, the Jericho show cancellation protest is clearly over and I have to say case closed.

But I see another case study in the making as fans set out to create a fan base for a serial that, so far, has only enjoyed a single season. Hmmm... I'll post some ideas on how they might proceed tomorrow (and mention some efforts already in place). I'll also keep tabs on the Jericho fans from time to time, once a week or so as warranted.

Will this cause some of my non-Jericho readers to groan and moan and suggest that "Jericho" become my middle name? I don't think so. Until Jericho, I seldom posted on the weekends anyway. Besides, Jericho cannot be my middle name because I'm already Je.rich.o's middle name. Ha!

Digg!

17 comments:

eecoxjr on 6/9/07, 10:05 AM said...

I can not help but wonder how many books will be written about (or include analysis of) this Jericho movement from the point of view of viral marketing and tipping points. I also wonder if you will be the first!

Jericho Saved on 6/9/07, 10:18 AM said...

Thank you again for the great article & for the continuing coverage. Can't wait to see tomorrow's ideas! You've been such a help getting word out. We continue our march.

Gina Webb Sutherland on 6/9/07, 11:28 AM said...

I'm happy so many were as outraged as I about the cancellation of Jericho. What we have accomplished feels amazing!

Rich, I've enjoyed your coverage of the Jericho crisis and look forward to your continued input.

Thank you.

Cindy on 6/9/07, 1:19 PM said...

Thank you for your ongoing support of Jericho. I imagine some marketing classroom discussing this campaign sometime soon.

Rich on 6/9/07, 1:31 PM said...

Thanks Eecoxjr, Jericho Saved, Gina (great blog start, btw), and Cindy. I really appreciate the feedback.

Yes Cindy, as a matter of fact, I will be speaking on social media survival next month to IABC Las Vegas. Jericho is one of several case studies I'll reference.

And Eecoxjr, I don't know about the first ... but certainly this year. Jericho will have it's own chapter in a book I'm writing. I may even decide to experiment with on demand publishing, making it an experiment unto itself, but I have not decided. I have a few months to figure that out. But at the moment, I'm happy to say every chapter is slated (unless something else happens) with Jericho being one of them.

I'm excited to read tomorrow too, ha! Seriously, there are a few things that the fans could do and CBS would be smart to do. I'm still writing it up.

All my best,
Rich

bluesapphire7788 on 6/9/07, 2:02 PM said...

Hey Rich! Thanks again for taking time to talk Jericho with us! We love hearing about it from you! You're just awesome. I've just sent you email...

Oh..and by the way...I wholeheartedly approve of you eating the YUMMIE nuts. Hopefully something arrived with the shipment for you to keep as a tangible memory of the campaign!

I can't thank you enough for the time you dedicated to Jericho and you will be richly rewarded, I'm sure, with more people who read your blog daily!

Cam on 6/9/07, 2:04 PM said...

I believe the true extent of this campaign will only be know in the months ahead, as we see how the 'partnership' with CBS works. It is an exciting concept and one that I salute CBS for taking the risk with.

For many people involved, this has turned in to a win-win situation. The viral aspect have united thousands of people but more importantly, it has established relationships that will benefit all. Copywrite, Ink was a site I had never heard of before the campaign but due to the quality of the articles it is one I will revisit on a regular basis. It is clear that those supporters of the Jericho revival will get their just rewards and rightly deserved as well.

kystorms on 6/9/07, 2:08 PM said...

yes, please do continue to blog on Jericho, its a joy to read the hows and whys of a successful campaign here. I learn so much. Will you be blogging on how the ABC conference goes afterwards? That will be very interesting to read about.

thanks for being so great to all of us!

Rich on 6/9/07, 4:14 PM said...

Blue, Cam, and Kystorms!

Great of you to drop by! The greatest rewards of writing about this campaign, like many of the case studies I've done, is getting to know some great people. (Same with our accounts. I love learning new things. I learned a lot here too).

Shaun has a pretty great show too, I might add. I probably don't mention him enough.

To remember the campaign, I just ordered one of our new blog shirts, which features the "Remember Jericho" image on the back. It's not for everyone ... but I needed another shirt for the gym (and might as well promote the show. Ha!)

As for the partnership with CBS ... don't mistake anything I say about their questionable communication as being down on the network (as is the case with every company I've written about).

I think they have taken a solid first step in partnering with the fans on this (especially the show producers). So I think it's going to work and as long as the fans stay focused (and CBS remains an ally as they suggest they might be) ... I'm looonnnggg on the potential outcome. Oh heck, that's suppose to be for tomorrow. :P

All my best, Rich

Rich on 6/9/07, 4:57 PM said...

"Spurred by the recent success of the fan-based campaign to save cancelled CBS series Jericho, fans of 'Veronica Mars' are now sending Mars bars and Snickers to The CW," which is owned by, gasp, CBS. (See, no offense intended, but I told you Les Moonves cannot seem to catch a break).

Check out this post on by Televisionary if you want to know more. Jericho fans, I suspect, are still resting from many sleepless nights after fighting their own nut war. However, I would probably have to eat crow (like all those Jericho critics did) to say anything but: these VM fans have a chance, though slim, despite the zero hour. Good luck!

If you want to see more, try saveveronicamars.tv They report they bought all the Mars bars in the United States so they moved onto Snickers (with Almonds). Pretty funny.

You know, I keep telling people that social media is "nuts" in a good way, but they don't believe me. Survival skills. Mandatory.

sapooloo89 on 6/9/07, 5:16 PM said...

Thank you for all the attention and helpful suggestions you have given to the Jericho movement. We appreciate it immensly.

Greg Cooper on 6/9/07, 5:16 PM said...

Rich,

Your insight as this movement has progressed has been fascinating. Tom Peters ought to be quoting you in HIS next book.

All the best,
Greg/Indiana

Rich on 6/9/07, 5:35 PM said...

Wow Greg. You left me speechless with that.

Thank you.

I don't want to go to deep and off topic, but I just had a discussion with someone why I think most real estate gurus are smart sales people within the context of why recruiters would be better off emulating them than cars salespeople. The difference in long term customer satisfaction is huge. So it is me, I assure you, who could learn a lot from you.

Ally my best,
Rich

Donna on 6/9/07, 5:53 PM said...

Looking forward to your suggestion!
Thanks for keeping Jericho in the news!

Nic on 6/9/07, 10:00 PM said...

"CBS is fortunate the fans love the show so much that they've already forgiven this transgression and moved on to marketing the show."

Like many fellow JERICHO supporters, I feel that there is a severe lack of original programming on television today. Crime, hospital, reality, repeat seems to be the current formula for just about every network. I know this because I see it...and I only watch 3 hours of television a week. Max. And that's when things aren't in reruns.

Anyhow, I have a large problem w/ us, the fans, advertising JERICHO for CBS. Yes, we love the show. Yes, we lobbied for its renewal after its cancellation. We "won" even.

But Nina Tassler's statment of: "We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks. is simply an attempt by CBS to save a buck in advertising a show that they have little/no hope for (for those of you who disagree, do you really expect to see much JERICHO promotion by CBS this coming summer/fall? REALLY?) by utilizing our grass-roots organized protest.

Furthermore, I have no doubt that JERICHO made CBS money. In fact, I'm willing to bet that every episode of JERICHO turned a profit of $1m+. What many of us "Rangers" fail to comprehend is that this is irrelevant. There are, @ any given time, potentially dozens of television shows that can turn more of a profit. The bottom line is that it is all about the bottom line ($$$).

So, to those of you that are doing so, you are really willing to donate your time/energy/& most importantly, your $$$ into advertising/promoting a television show for a multi-billion dollar corporation? Simply put, I love the show too & fought for it...but CBS is the creator of a product & has just fooled many of you into subsidizing the advertising costs for that product.

-n

Judi Massey on 6/10/07, 5:31 AM said...

I dont trust Les or Nina and you know what they say about getting burned. I really have an issue with them laying most of this off on us as a collective to promote the show. Did they really do their part in advertising the show in the first season? And what about the promotion for when it came back from their hiatus? I barely saw anything on tv saying it was coming back on. How do we know they will advertise it the way it should have been from the start now? They are the ones who control that decision not us. Plus, the have way more money than we do to pay for the advertising so how can we possibly do as much if not more than they can? Nina's comment makes it clear that if Jericho fails in the ratings it will be OUR fault and no fault of their own. She is already pushing for everyone to watch live tv and not tivo it or innertube or ipod the show as these aren't "counted". I know alot of people who just cannot watch live on some night because they have priorities that just don't allow them to watch so they record it or watch on innertube at a later time. Plus, Nina says that they are already making sure they have a wrap up show in the wings for if they need it. This leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth because it seems like they are planning on using it already. I don't know but I just can't get passed how she said what she said and it makes me question her motivation. Having said that, Rich, we are so glad that you have come on board with your posts and have like the rest of us become a fan of Jericho. It really is the best show on television and I am very glad it will be back. I will continue to fight to keep Jericho on tv as I have been for the last several weeks and hope the rest of the fans will too. I'm sure they will. I have grown to look forward to your blogs and will continue to check in and read them every day.

Rich on 6/10/07, 10:36 AM said...

Hey Nic. Very valid points, which is why today's solution four might suit you. There is a chance the fans can add value beyond the CBS show, which removes some cause to abandon it over the apparent miscommunication of their point.

Thanks Judi. Spot on. CBS could have done much better advertising the first season as becomes more clear in my June 10 post, especially after it came back from the ill-advised hiatus. I have to admit even I was unsure of when the show was coming back (and the "recap" was not worth bothering with).

I'm not convinced is a great position across the board right now, but they could start to turn some of it around if they serve Jericho right beyond seven shows next season. Personally, I just don't think they know what they have. And even if they do somewhat, I think they miss that Jericho is not like Lost or Heroes (no matter what critics say).

Lost is largely set on a very small area. Heroes is a set in a regular universe with alternate characters. Only Jericho truly presents an alternative universe, which could potentially be as rich as any epic adventure.

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