News around reality TV has also always interested me; I enjoy connecting with people and understanding their behaviours, so it’s no surprise that before starting at Broadcast Revolution, this was quite central to my news intake. So much so, my bio stated:
“I joined BR as a gossip column reader but have since been converted to a real news lover who enjoys nothing more than impressing my friends and family with my knowledge of current affairs.”
Thankfully, I am now across “real news”. (Even though the “real news” currently consists of government dramatics which is not too far off my previous version of the news!) I do however find it interesting that as an industry, we have often dismissed the news around reality TV and its stars when it comes to broadcast, with the protest that we need to focus on “HARD NEWS”.
Obviously, I am not denying that we use celebrities for campaigns regularly. If a reality star is extremely popular, they will garner the Producers’ interest the same way an ex- BBC Presenter or former Corrie legend would. However, the aspect of the broadcast world that I believe we can re-address is incorporating reality TV news and its storylines into our campaigns.
This is why:
1) Part of our job as PRs is to sell to people
Whether that’s a Producer – for the broadcast sector – or a journalist for traditional PR, the people we are selling to are people just like us. They have interests, guilty pleasures, and get excited over chatting about the latest gossip as we do. So, if we get them hooked and chatting about a storyline or talking point, they will likely think it would make their viewers/readers do the same.
I’ve seen this in action this summer when hooking data to themes across Love Island. This included body image, racial representation, and trends in dating. These received responses from media such as “Definitely want this, obsessed with Love Island”, and “My presenter is hooked on Love Island, can we book a slot?”
And yes, the stats are good and have an important message, but the pick-up here is down to human interest.
2) The world is changing fast, and previously “soft” subjects have become “hard” news
While yes, the likes of fashion, beauty, and hair have always had their place in certain segments of newspapers and feature pieces, they are now becoming part of the hard news agenda.
Over the last few months, we’ve produced interviews on GB News and Times Radio on how Love Island chose to partner with pre-loved fashion through eBay. Why? Because increasing awareness of sustainable fashion links to climate change, a central topic of top tier outlets’ hard news agenda. I will openly admit that in the past, I’ve said that broadcast needs hard news or “that wouldn’t work in broadcast”, but I think the landscape is changing, and it’s time to acknowledge that the lines are blurred.
I urge our industry to re-think how we can utilise new ideas in campaigns, specifically broadcast campaigns, where your attention reaches far and wide. Take that extra time to think about how things can be adapted to fit into the ever-changing landscape of what we know as news and, even more importantly, what will resonate with individuals.