Saturday, October 20

Raising Neptune: Veronica Mars Fans


Kristen Bell, best known for her role on the cult hit Veronica Mars, will be joining the cast of Heroes this Monday. And with her, she may be bringing thousands of Veronica Mars fans.

Veronica Mars fans have long since noticed that the Veronica Mars DVD will be released the day after Bell’s debut as a new character with mysterious electric powers. In preparation, hundreds of fans have downloaded fliers to help promote the Save Veronica Mars Web site under their combined group banner Neptune Rising.

As part of their DVD promotion efforts, Veronica Mars fans have even pooled together enough money to, weather permitting, fly a banner "Buy Veronica Mars Season 3 On Sale Now" from Middletown, Ohio, to Cincinnati.

“The flight will be approximately an hour long and we are hoping to hit rush hour traffic along two expressways,” says Mark Thompson, who operates the Save Veronica Mars Web site. “Cloudwatchers flew one for Veronica Mars to get us a Season 3 and campaigners for the show Invasion flew one trying to save their show last year as well.”

Thompson says renting planes is becoming commonplace for fan groups. CSI fans, he says, are looking to rent planes with banners to save a character on the show. In addition to the plane flight, they are recruiting bloggers and other fans to make noise on the Internet this Monday and Tuesday.

Veronica Mars fan Rachel Gerke, who pitches better than many working public relations professionals I know, tells me that on Oct. 23, Veronica Mars fans will begin collecting letters to make fan scrapbooks for Kristen Bell, Rob Thomas, and Alan Horn, president of Warner Brothers. The scrapbooks will take some time to get together, but fans are hoping to complete the project as a holiday gift. And, half a world away, a Veronica Mars fan has been promoting an Oct. 26 start date for Veronica Mars syndication in Australia.

Combined, Veronica Mars fans have easily redeemed themselves since the Buddy TV story in June told them to turn to Jericho fans for help. Nowadays, it almost seems to be the other way around.

The difference isn’t in the fans; it’s in network communication. Jericho fans are still mending fences after fan fallouts caused by some who lobbied Nina Tassler’s message, which implied that CBS fans might save the show if they simply “hung out” on the CBS message boards. While most fans are friendly, visiting the kitchen tends to drive more people away over disputes than it can keep.

For Jericho, the best ideas continue to be those away from the network (it’s about time). Next week, I’ll be looking for them to see if we can find some kind of sum up and solidarity.

If there is a lesson to be learned by networks, there seems to be two distinct ways to work with passionate fans: either partner with them and provide the support they need or stay far, far away. Unfortunately, CBS tends to fall somewhere in the middle, floating messages out through select fans and editing posts that might distract from those who seem closer to them.

Although the stay “far, far away” approach might seem frustrating for Veronica Mars fans at times, they should be happy not to have a halfway headache. The result is a clear focus: Veronica Mars Season 3 DVD goes on sale Oct. 23. If you haven’t heard, I expect you will.

Digg!

27 comments:

Rich on 10/20/07, 11:27 AM said...

More words:

Jane at Jericho Monster interviewed me this week. It's up if you're interested in my take on consumer marketing and fandom.

Best,
Rich

Jericho Saved on 10/20/07, 11:34 AM said...

Hey Rich,
Great article. I've been in touch with fans from VM, Supernatural, and Firefly and while we all want to help each other it's made more difficult by the CBS board. I am not sending anybody to that board with the attitude that is prevalent there these days. We will and can work together but I am not going to risk our mutual marketing efforts by sending them someplace they may be attacked and/or disrespected.

I sincerely hope that attitudes will change before Jericho is cancelled for the last time.

Ichthus said...

Thanks for another great arcticle, Rich. I like to see the contrast between the two groups of fans. While Jericho fans are upset over CBS' lack of promotion of the DVD's, Veronica Mars fans decided to take matters into their own hands. I love how the VM fans paid for an airplane banner to promote their DVD's. Maybe the Jericho fans should worry less about what CBS does or doesn't do and worry more about what they do. We definitely could learn from the Veronica Mars fans.

Rich on 10/20/07, 1:11 PM said...

Hey Ichthus,

At this point, I think you are very right. The partnership concept as originally proposed by CBS never materialized. I've been thinking about this at great length.

It seems to me that Jericho fans need CBS to commit to airtime, which would give Jericho fans time to promote it and add the call to action that currently lacks (other than the DVD sales).

Then, a serious effort to promote the show offline (online seems covered) needs to follow. The come home to Jericho message, not to offend anyone, doesn't resonate with non-viewers. (I offered to develop a message once, and was told it was too late.)

Also, just as a point of clarity, Veronica Mars fans don't really have a choice but to go it alone. As it turns out, it seems to have worked out better for them.

All my best,
Rich

Jericho Saved on 10/20/07, 1:19 PM said...

It's not too late if you want to try that message again Rich.

Thanks.

Rich on 10/20/07, 2:09 PM said...

Jane,

I'll give it some thought; I'd be two weeks out from something like that because I do no know where the show is going and it seems to me it would possibly create more strife among fans.

I'm reading a great book right now called Strategy and the Fat Smoker (the author is reffering to how he used to be). I will be writing a review about it next week. One of the premises is that Fat Smokers will generally not change their behavior unless there is a crisis.

No offense — because I love Jericho fans, many of you have become friends, and I want the show to succeed for a Season 3 — but it strikes me that Jericho is at risk of becoming a Fat Smoker if it has not already.

Best,
Rich

Rich on 10/20/07, 3:25 PM said...

Just a few more words to clarify:

For CBS:
Jericho would have made top 10-15 broadcasted shows, during the week that ended Oct. 8. So maybe it is time to come clean on why it was cancelled in the first place.

For Fans:
Entertainment Weekly arrived today. Four television shows made the top 20 DVD sales, ending the week of Oct. 8. None of them was Jericho (1408 made the list; it was released on Oct. 2). Will it be there next week? How about the week after?

So maybe each fan can ask themselves: what did you do when the DVD went on sale? Cheer about it on the CBS message boards? Complain there was no advertising? Buy a DVD? Tell your family to buy DVDs? Tell your neighbors to buy DVDs? Rent an airplane banner? Are you ready to change your behavior?

This is a rhetorical question. I know some of you did boatloads. :) I know some are doing even more, which is why I'll be summing what the various fan factions is doing. Its also a fine lesson for Veronica Mars fans.

Best,
Rich

bluesapphire7788 on 10/20/07, 3:45 PM said...

Rich! Thanks for sharing what seems to be great ideas for offline promotion on behalf of VM Fans!

Unforuntely ever since early June, the majority of the fans either misunderstood the importance of offline promotion of simply found it to be too inconvenient a task to undertake. Losing nearly 5 months of dearly needed offline promotion time for either the DVD Release or the return of Jericho Season 2 will greatly impact the numbers we will need to post in ratings for Jericho to have a Season 3. Without a doubt we will need double digits to be successful. If Jericho were to return next week it's very uncertain on whether or not we would have the numbers we would need to bring Jericho back again. Instead of undertaking this task, it would seem that the majority of Jericho fans are intent on saturating the internet and promoting Jericho to each other instead of reaching out to new viewers and viewers that disappeared after the first 12 episodes. All people who do not use the internet for message boards/forums chat etc, about 8 million or so people we need to reach. In slowly realizing how many fans have simply walked away from the activity on the boards over the last 5 months, in that the number of those ppl now visably active, at an all time low, some fans choose to protest CBS for an air date; for lack of promotion on the DVD and for lack of response to them. Let's hope that the 4700 or so people who left the boards and have not returned, have been heavily talking this up on their end with friends and family and work associates! Online petitions, emailing and/or calling CBS and complaining will do little to accomplish the larger task of reaching out to the offline viewers. Our best hope is that Jericho doesn't return until January at this point so that an offline promotion campaign can be organized and launched by a united body of fans. Even if you are two weeks out on a message...I'm sure your input would be greatly appreciated.

kittyping said...

I have been trying to get people to see the importance of reaching the people who do not use the internet since I first came on . In fact I just posted a thread caled Reverse Phsycology. I hope it catches on. Thanks for all of your great reviews.

Anonymous said...

Rich, thanks for the continuation of nudges for Jericho fans and thank you for all the help you have provided the fans in the past. By writing as a fan and a friend of the other fans of Jericho your experience, manner, and writing style make what you say even more potent. g

Anonymous said...

Uh,

Jericho DVD sales were off the charts week 1. Top 12 on Tv Dvd'S and 32 overall for the week.

Veronica Mars? Is that still on TV?

The Jericho Monster is alive and well. You are mistaken....

NorsU

Rich on 10/20/07, 4:17 PM said...

Thanks Bluesapphire,

Your contribution is a valued observation. If I'm ready to take anything away from David Maister's book halfway through, you've touched on it here: Jericho fans must focus and stay the course. It is in the smallest efforts that led to the biggest results. It's in our ability to set a mindset and stay the course.

That is why Jericho won a truncated Season 2. Everyone, $1 to $5 at a time, plus three friends doing the same, etc. turned a small band of fans into a mighty mountain of nuts in 2-3 weeks. I'll remain hopeful that the greater silent majority — like the student (and her family), who was in that class I guest taught recently, who declared "We sent nuts!" when I brought you all up as a case study in social media — have been doing there part all along.

It's also what Veronica Mars fans have done, one fan at a time. To turn what seemed like an impossibility into something worth watching.

Best,
Rich

openminded1 on 10/20/07, 7:12 PM said...

Online social media is big, but social reality is bigger. I would tell your fat smoker to go join a new aerobics class and promote Jericho at the same time. :)

Thank you again, Rich for your perspective and for a lot to think about today.

Rich on 10/20/07, 7:31 PM said...

You're very welcome Mary.

Oh, David is neither fat or a smoker anymore. In his book, he shares how a crisis convinced him to give it up. But I have no doubt that you would tell him to promote Jericho anyway. :)

Best,
Rich

stubbornone on 10/20/07, 10:47 PM said...

Hi Rich,
This is Mark Thompson,
thanks for another great article about Neptune
Rising and all of our efforts.
There are alot of people that are making it a
success and we know we still have a long way to go
but we are pretty optimistic for the most part.
I know that alot of the Jericho fans are subscribers
to your blog and I wish them luck. Until I
discovered Veronica Mars this past year Jericho was
my favorite show and I want to see it return for good.
I know how difficult it can be campaigning and the
CW lounge messed with alot of us when the Veronica
Mars board was still up and running. They didn't
seem to mind when there were several campaign
threads working against each other but didn't seem
to like it when we were able to consolidate the
members into one campaign and seemed to get a little
delete happy with some of our threads and posts but
we just tried to take it in stride and to be careful
not to violate any of their guidelines so as not to
get banned and then not to be able to recruit more
members to the campaign.

kystorms on 10/21/07, 5:51 AM said...

Hi Rich

The issue we all need to accept, as you said... was being on the boards is not working well. There are so many awesome means of off internet promotion running around in the Jericho community, you can find these ideas either at the CBS boards, or at the various forums! Just pick something, and get to doing it! Please!
The solidarity we all wish for on CBS.... will happen, I know this in my heart. I just hope it is not when we are weeks from air time.
One way I have been trying to promote this show for CBS is with my Fan made/ Fan central promotional videos idea, which I have been talking about since the end of September. This would be a freebie for CBS if they were to chose to air it, that would be the only real commitment from them, to say yes, we will air these promotional videos made by the fans ( show casing the fans).
And what better way to entice new fans to watch then with a commercial showing the Fans, what they did, why they did it? I hope to get us to doing grassroots efforts that will lead us to doing promotion for Jericho because CBS simply is not doing so.

Teresa Rothaar on 10/21/07, 8:00 AM said...

Great article!

Unfortunately, CBS will partner with a dirtling (that's how they see me, not how I see myself) like me the same day The Doctor's TARDIS materializes in my living room.

And if I were the betting type, my money would be on the TARDIS.

It's a shame USA Network does not own this show. That's a network that knows how to promote a program. Before last Thursday's new episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," the entire DAY was spent on a L&O marathon, to get everyone ready for the new episode at 10:00 p.m.

Not to mention that anything that network broadcasts is promoted about every 5 minutes starting six months before it even comes on ("The Starter Wife").

I don't know if USA is any better of a corporation than CBS is...me hating Corporate America...but they definitely have a better marketing strategy.

Now I'm going to go wait for the TARDIS.

flowerlady112 on 10/21/07, 8:27 AM said...

Rich,
I think it depends on which thread you hang out in on the CBS Board. Our thread is "Vote for Jericho (all voting links are on this thread)" and we do NOT fight. We keep our efforts focused on promoting Jericho through voting on various internet polls. We socialize of course but mainly we concentrate on Jericho. There are no big egos to get in the way. And we have never heard a word from CBS or any of the "higher up fans" we just do our job.

Also Jericho fans are not just sitting around waiting for CBS to promote Jericho. We have been promoting it ourselves all along. We wear t-shirt, have bumper stickers on our cars, we bought over 100 dvds for the troops, we have donated over $20,600 to the tornado ravaged, Greensburg, KS. Not to mention all the money we spent on nuts!!! We tell everyone we know and a lot we don't know about Jericho. I personally am responsible for recruiting at least 12 new fans. I have purchased and given out 5 dvd sets to get people interested in the show. Since May 16th my life has revolved around Jericho. I know lots of others have done the same.

Rich on 10/21/07, 8:54 AM said...

Hey Mark,

Great to have you drop by. I have put Veronica Mars in the living case study column, do to some of the fan efforts. I think it is worth watching.

There is little doubt that you have a tremendous task. I'm glad to see you will not be deterred.

You present a extremely valuable lesson about being on a network board, especially because The CW is owned by the same people.

Best,
Rich

Rich on 10/21/07, 9:38 AM said...

Flowerlady112,

Please don't mistake my bluntness for any but a check and balance. There are many, many great fans who seem more than capable to extract blood from stones and their efforts deserve recognition.

However, if I am providing accurate observation, I have to look at it from the perspective of a new viewer coming to CBS boards for the first time. Unfortunately, they will not find your thread first ... even though it makes a lot of sense and is extremely productive.

Yes, the campaign for Greensburg was great as well as the campaign to donate DVDs to the troops. Those are certainly some of the highlights I'll be writing up next week. There are plenty of other fine examples too. I won't share them all now because then I won't have anything to write about next week.

More than anything, what I am saying is that the greater collection of Jericho fans who are still around, which is unfortunately less than it was, would be better served supporting what seems to be working as well as expanding the base of promotional efforts. However, it also seems to me that many fans are unaware of the efforts that are working because these efforts are often overshadowed by highly visible clashes, enough so that the articles earned last week from the online media had nothing to do DVD sales efforts and everything to do with credit concerns.

I didn't write them. The media wrote them. So if the clashes are loud enough for the media to pick up on it and even write about it, that is a huge problem ... because it means your positive messages are being overshadowed by negative messages, and unfortunately, those are the only messages that some people will read.

Jericho cannot afford that.

Some people might mistake what I'm writing about here is fan bashing. Well, let them. On the contrary, what I am saying is that the Jericho fans have to remember that the whole world is watching. So if the most visible people fight it out in public, that is all they will see, placing CBS in a position to pull the plug ... to which the rest of the world will say ... that figures. The fans were too busy slugging it out over who said "nuts" first, and whether or not someone is a "leader" as if it were a dirty word, and whether CBS needs praise or protest.

I don't want to see that happen because of the many fans like you.

Best,
Rich

flowerlady112 on 10/21/07, 10:01 AM said...

Hello Rich,
I am quoting you here from your reply to me - "The fans were too busy slugging it out over who said "nuts" first" - I missed this but it is very interesting because this is a question I posted over on Buddy TV in their new Quiz section where fans can post questions and then provide the correct answer and four incorrect answers. Other fans answer the questions and get points for correct answers. Fans can also rate the questions with a thumbs up or thumbs down. This particular question is receiving a thumbs down so apparently some fans don't agree with my correct answer. I hope I did not start this disagreement but my answer is correct. It was Stanley when the deputy came out to search his farm looking for the pesticides stolen from Gracie's market. I can't imagine fans are fighting over this - this little quiz is supposed to be for fun!!!

Anonymous said...

Jericho Fans are resolute and continue to work hard.

Most of us are independent and continue to act out so, the strength and speed of our Save Jericho campaign.

I thought the Jericho DVD sales were stellar. Did not in anyway mean earlier to diss the VM campaign. More to highlight what Jerich Fans have done and will do forward.

NorsU

Rich on 10/21/07, 10:13 AM said...

Flowerlady112,

Oh no, not the characters. The argument was over who was the first fan to get the ball rolling by tying nuts to the campaign or something silly like that. We all know it was a collective effort, as confirmed by myself and Michael Hinman.

But there have been plenty of others. You did well to miss it! :) I don't want us to go back there. I think that one is over and, even better, was used by some fans to forgive, forget, and hopefully move onto better things. (Even though, I know a few might still need a kick in the pants for what they e-mail to other fans who are actually doing something. If not, they can bank on fact that I'll write about that.)

All my best,
Rich

G on 10/21/07, 11:28 AM said...

Rich Sunday night (10-21)at 6PM Pacific/9PM eastern there will be a planning discussion held in CBS chat hosted by Pamla777. It is hoped that promotion efforts can be crystalized. To that end your insight would be very helpful. Thank you, g

stubbornone on 10/23/07, 7:29 AM said...

Hi Rich,
It was my understanding that is was Les Moonves of CBS that was the one who officially cancelled Veronica Mars.
Rachel has told me that you are going to try some episodes of Veronica Mars so please make sure you start at season 1 and after that I expect that you will be one of us...lol.

Rich on 10/23/07, 11:22 AM said...

Hey Stubbornone,

I will do exactly that. I'll check out some of the early episodes and go from there. I recently did that with Firefly and quickly understood why those fans were disappointed.

I would not be surprised to learn Les Moonves cancelled Veronica Mars.

What I wonder sometimes is: if networks, under pressure to produce new shows that can be reviewed and written about as part of the new fall lineup and to gain rating buzz. simply dump decent shows to make room for new ones, even if the new shows are less then.

Naw, couldn't be. Could it?

Best,
Rich

stubbornone on 10/23/07, 9:41 PM said...

It's my understanding that most of the shows that the CW has now aren't pulling in the ratings that Veronica Mars was.
I believe that the networks will have to start paying more attention to the fans in the coming years and it's something that they should have been doing already.

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