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Selling (and Selling to) Trust Me‘s Audience

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If you've been watching Trust Me, you know that last night's episode was a long time coming.  I think every single week the show has mentioned Dove hair care products in one way or another, usually relating to Sarah Krajicek's being placed on the Dove account (much to her chagrin). 

You and I know that Dove has, assuredly, paid for every single mention, and that the producers were almost certainly told that they had to incorporate Dove in some fashion.  It's an advertising show, so it was pretty easy to figure out how they were going to do it – just have someone develop an ad campaign for Dove as an on-going plot.  It's an easy, and natural way to solve the problem – have the ad agency working on an ad for a real world product. 

Of course, while little snippets every week are nice, it's not a shock to imagine that Dove could want more, and, last night we got our Dove episode.  That's right, the vast majority of the episode revolved around the team coming up with a campaign for Dove, the plot went from a minor recurring one to the main theme of the night.  That, too, worked naturally because just about every week one ad campaign, generally for fictional companies, has taken center stage.  It didn't seem forced to have Dove take center stage this week, and although the characters were figuring out the best way to shill Dove to people in their world, it didn't feel as though they were shilling it to us (which, of course, they were).

Stories about the rising cost of producing TV series, dwindling market shares, and all manner of other issues are constantly being written.  There's always somebody standing up bemoaning the way things are, the way things will be, or explaining why their method to offset costs is the best. 

Trust Me's method for offsetting costs is, actually, a great one for the series.  They mix the creation of advertising for fake companies with the advertising of real ones, and rather than trying to do it in a subtle fashion (like Knight Rider panning over every single Ford logo they could) and come up looking deceitful, Trust Me brings it front and center; they're open and honest about creating the perfect ad for a specific, real, product.  To me, that feels like a better way to go about it. 

I'm not going to say that advertising doesn't work on me – I'm neither that conceited nor that foolish – but I do like people to be up front about the fact that they're advertising to me.  Here's Dove.  Here's Bertolli.  Here's Dove again.  And again.  And again.  Obviously not every show can be quite so clear about what they're doing, Trust Me has a lot of leeway being that they're a show that revolves specifically around advertising.  However, it still a great way for this series to go about getting extra money for a series that can't be cheap to produce.

Television is all about advertising, it's all about selling.  We, the audience are being sold and being sold to at the same time.  We should expect television to be doing that, they don't exactly hide the fact that that's their plan.  I just like how Trust Me goes about it.  I don't trust them to be as open and honest always as they have been with the Dove stuff, but I still like the way they went about it.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    I’ve not seen an episode yet, but I sure would like to follow the show if I can fit it in. Sounds like you like it?