Ok, I may not be the fastest on the uptake. But something is up with how MSNBC is handling promotion of its Ethical Edge series. I have noted in the past about the way MSNBC has buried its weekend programming specials with little or no advance promotion. The only off network mention the last installment received as far as I could see came from my Q&A with the show’s host.
But this time something different has happened. Although there has still been little or no TV advertising of this Sunday’s special so far, which is still a big problem in my mind, there has been a noticeable uptick in print promotion in the form of newspaper articles. Yesterday, blurbs appeared in the Wall Street Journal and in a syndicated AP article that I’ve seen in the Jackson Hole Star Ledger and the San Francisco Chronicle. And both were positive.
Now, today Linda Stasi in the New York Post devotes a full article to the show that is positively glowing (though Father Thomas Williams might be a wee bit embarrassed by Stasi’s characterization of him)….
OK, I know, I know, you may have a couple of other shows you’ll be watching Sunday night at 9, (for me it’s “Rome” — you can keep those Desperate-for-publicity Housewives).
But busy as you may be watching, can I still beg you to fire up the DVR to record yet another? (Is that ethical?)
The show in question, “The Ethical Edge: Everyday Ethics,” harkens back to the great talk shows of old, and tackles questions that we face every single day of our lives — questions that some of us handle a lot better than others. (And you know who you are!)
Chris Jansing, moderator/host (who does a heck of a job keeping things rolling) has a panel of ethics experts, including the world’s handsomest priest, Father Thomas Williams, Rabbi Edward Cohn and professor Anita Allen. Midway into the show, she brings on Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners.
So what changed this time to generate all this print attention? I think the answer is obvious. MSNBC sent out promotional copies of the show to various media outlets well in advance of the air date. This, as far as I know, is an unprecedented move for MSNBC; and I must say a welcome one. MSNBC doesn’t have the ad budget of CNN where they can flood the zone promoting Sanjay Gupta’s NASCAR special both on TV, print, and the web. The promo-tape idea is very smart. It’s low cost but at the same time it is geared toward maximum payoff by giving media reporters an advance look at the show so that they can comment on it in ways that using only a stale press release wouldn’t allow them to.
I have been hard at times on MSNBC’s promotional problems in the past. But this move deserves praise and perhaps signals a change in the way MSNBC is going to go about promoting itself, something it needs to do if it wants to improve in the ratings…