July 08, 2005
Laugh! Or You Can Be 26 Cents Richer
TBS is so convinced that people will laugh at the new Pauly Shore TV show "Minding the Store" that it says: "If his new show doesn't make you laugh, he'll send you a dollar!*"
Just to make sure we're clear, TBS believes that "grins, smirks, smiles and giggles all count as actual laughs."
OK, fine. But hold on--what's that asterisk?
Ah yes, the T&Cs that explain why you might not get your $1. First, only the first 250,000 people get a buck. Personally, I find it hard to believe that 250,000 Americans will sit through any show that features Pauly Shore. However, I think it's easy to overestimate the tastes of the viewing public, plus TV executives get paid to dream big--big enough that TBS wants to cap its liability at $250,000. And, in any case, it does seem possible that a few people will write in simply to get some free cash without watching the show at all.
Second, to get the cash, you need to send a 3x5 card and a self-addressed stamped envelope. The card must contain, in handwriting, the viewer's name, address, date of birth (why date of birth??? I didn't see an age requirement for eligibility) and reason why the viewer didn't like the show. We all know what most cards are going to say: something to the effect of "It sucked."
So, to get your buck, you need to pay $0.74 in postage plus the cost of the 3x5 card and envelope. (I can't even contemplate that anyone would steal office supplies or postage to get the buck). Net compensation for your time: 26 cents or less.
Meanwhile, TBS takes the right to use your name, city/state and reason you didn't like the show for its promotional purposes. In fact, I could see TBS basing a show on the response it receives, showing all of the different and creative ways Americans can say "It sucked."
So there you have it. A bunch of non-viewing gamesters are going to net 26 cents each, and TBS is going to get a big pile of cards with the handwritten words "It sucked" on it.
But will the offer increase viewership? Well, if you think it's a good deal to suffer through a bad TV show for 26 cents, then you're probably in TBS's target audience for this show anyway!
(Hat tip to Reality Blurred)
Posted by Eric at July 8, 2005 12:14 PM | Marketing