December 9, 2005
Soap Dance Videos?

Procter & Gamble soap As the World Turns has taken a novel approach to promoting--surprising, of course, since soaps usually do very little to promote themselves other than on daytime television and through soap opera magazines, preaching to the converted, so to speak.

However, the soap is hoping to show its artistry and complexity in a way that breaks out of the conventions of soap opera; several of the actors filmed a dance video that is currently airing on 1,400 movie screens before films, promoting the CBS show.

The dance video will be set to Evan Olson's "Take the World."

Several of the ATWT fan boards have members asking where these videos are airing, as most of them have not seen them.

Is this a good idea? Will it really lead to increased viewership? How can a traditional soap opera like ATWT break through the stereotypes that soaps have against them?

Actor Michael Park, who plays Jack Snyder, says, "Any time we can transcend different mediums, that's the name of the game. We're trying to reach as many people as we possibly can."

The show has featured many actors over the years who have gone on to do well in Hollywood--Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, James Earl Jones, , Jason Biggs, John Wesley Shipp, and myriad other actors began on the show. The current cast includes Michael Landon's daughter Jennifer and a lot of young actors who have great possibilities for the future, as well as very accomplished television and film actor Tamara Tunie, accomplished stage actors like Scott Holmes, and veterans who have been on the show up to...well...50 years.

Nevertheless, is there anything that soaps can do to draw in viewers who already have such preconceived notions about them?

And what are the benefits to the crossover with Evan Olson?

Any thoughts?


On December 11, 2005 at 11:02 PM, feemeister said:

I have often wondered why the networks don't advertise the shows. There are no plugs or anything, and they have to survive on their own. They certainly don't try to make their primetime shows survive on their own! They advertise all kinds of stupid shows I would never watch in a million years! It's kind of like Dodge has done with the Neon! No advertisements for Neons on TV! Only for Rams, trucks SUVs, but I have not seen an advertisement for a Neon since they first came out MANY years ago. And I have NEVER seen an advertisement for a Status. I've read that's because they can't get the market for these cars. WELL THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET IT IF THEY DON'T EVEN TRY!!! Not advertising them at all certainly doesn't get it! I would never have wanted and bought these cars if I hadn't rented them! So guess what! Let's stop making the Neon, cuz they don't sell! And it's the same thing with the shows. If you don't advertise, you're not going to get additional viewers! They have to come from somewhere! I think the video is a pretty cool idea. And let's not forget! I tape the show, but I'm not the only one watching. There are 3 people at my house who watch, and one person I give my tapes to to watch. I don't know if anyone else watches with her, but they very well might. So your Nielsen ratings don't show the numbers of everyone! Also, I think the idea of having the shows on once in a while at night like Y&R has done is a good one. About once a month or so, they could put a soap episode on. Also, maybe having them on some of the Talk Shows would be a good idea!

On December 12, 2005 at 1:01 AM, Sam Ford said:

Nighttime marketing would be a great idea, but I assume that the barrier there is with the network. ATWT is on against two other soaps in a tight time period, but Y&R runs unopposed. It's the chicken or egg argument here--Is Y&R the top-rated soap because it has no competition, or does it have no competition becuase it is the top-rated soap?

As for the talk shows and just making stars more visible, I agree...It seems like they could get spots on Regis and Kelly or other NYC-based media. But, maybe some of these shows have, overall, a no-soap policy, so as not to open the floodgates. That being said, with Kelly developing a name through soaps, it seems like it would be good programming for the show and could really give these guys a chance to build a larger audience.

Sometimes, you have to put some money into something to make more money off of it.

On December 12, 2005 at 11:39 AM, MaryHatch said:

If ATWT is interested in reeling in young viewers, they are going to have to be more specific in their advertising. Do they advertise in "Seventeen" magazine? "CosmoTeen"? "TigerBeat"? If they don't, they should. The teen cast is more attractive and talented than it's been since the late Eighties, but if teens aren't aware of the show, or only know it as "Grandma's soap," TPTB have no one to blame but themselves.

On December 14, 2005 at 7:38 AM, Sam Ford said:

An important point, MaryHatch. There aren't that many teens watching right now, it appears, so word of mouth can only go so far. It's easy to cite the numbers and blame the actors or the writing, but, in the case of Will, Gwen, Casey, Maddie, and Luke, neither can be blamed. It's all in the promotion...well....considering the way daytime is promoted, it's all in the non-promotion.

On December 14, 2005 at 10:38 PM, feemeister said:

I would also like to point out that one of the reason I watch the shows, is because of the acting and because of the characters and character development. To me, the acting on the nighttime shows does not come anywhere close to what we get from the shows. The only show I am currently watching in nighttime is House, and that is because I have always been a huge Hugh Laurie fan, since seeing him on the Black Adder. But most of the shows they have on primetime are about people who to me are more like nasty robots than they are real people. And on the shows, since they're on fairly long term, they get to develop the characters, and you feel as if you are seeing people you actually know every day. You get NOTHING like that from Primetime. Even on House, which I LOVE, and which does do a certain amount of character development, it is not the SAME as on a daytime show. Also, you can compare the shows. Take B&B and ATWT. There is a lot more character development done on ATWT, and they take their characters and their storylines much more seriously on ATWT. I don't like hardly any of the characters on B&B at all. In fact, I HATE most of them. The storylines are insulting to the fans (as well as the actors). I have just stopped watching the show again. I keep up on the board, which I really like, but I could just stop watching the show, because the I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE! I will also tell you that when I returned from my vacation, I decided to stop watching GL and B&B, and only watch ATWT. I was trying to conserve time. (I have also noticed that not watching B&B has really lowered my blood pressure!!! Seriously!) I started taping GL again after two days without it. Why? It's not the storylines, which are not that good right now. IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE! They have good character development on there. I MISSED MY FRIENDS!!! But what about B&B? I have not missed it at all! Because I have no emotional attachment to the people on it! THAT is what makes a real difference! And when they fire people, they are taking away your friends! And when they do idiot storylines, they're insulting the viewers as well as the actors. FOR EXAMPLE! What B&B has done to the character Jack Wagner portrays is criminal! They've taken a great character, and made him into a subhuman creature! Most of the viewers despise him! He's the main reason I quit watching! And while I like a few characters on the show, THEY ARE NOT MY FRIENDS! On ATWT you develop more a personal friendship with the people. Of course, there are some I hate on there, too. But even though they have 3 or 4 times the castmembers, there actually is only one that I can't stand. I get MAD at other characters, but I don't hate them and want them off the show or dead! But when I stopped watching the two shows recently,I did actually MISS the people on GL! Enough that I had to start taping it again! I have watched many different soaps off and on since I was 2 (for 46 years). I have watched ATWT off and on since 1974, GL since 1960 (although I was a baby and didn't know about what was going on, I watched), and B&B off and on for 15 years. I watched Y&R off and on from about 1974 until about 1996. I quit watching it because I hated almost all the people on the show, and because it took them 10 years to finish a storyline! I watched AW for the last two years before it was cancelled, and it was one of my very favorites EVER! The acting, the writing and the comedy were all totally superb! I LOVED every character on the show. When AW was taken off, I boycotted NBC for 3 years. I would not have the station on in my house! I stopped watching DOOL which I was watching at the time, and also didn't miss it at all, because, there again, I only liked a couple people on the whole show! I also watched all the ABC shows all through high school and part of junior high. I watched shows with my grandmother, my mother, my best friend growing up, and my children when I had them. There are characters on ATWT now that I used to watch with my grandmother. She died in 1987 at age 95. The reason I say I have watched many of the shows off and on (at least since video recorders were invented) is because when people I really like are fired it makes me so mad I will quit watching. Such as when GL fired Michael Zaslow. I quit watching for years after they did that. His disease could have been written into the show and made a great storyline. But instead, they fired him! I have made a horrible job of this post! It is all jumbled up! I wish I could put it on something other than this format, where you can't make paragraphs, and easily correct and things! But hopefully you can see after this why it is I prefer the daytime shows to primetime. Most primetime shows to me are sterile, harsh, cold and unfriendly! I'm not delusional or anything about my friends, in case you think I'm a nut! I'm not! But I watch with two other people, and two of us feel that way about them. The other is my son, and he does not feel the same way about them we do. I know two other people who also watch the shows, and they feel the same way we do! So it's 4 with me and one agin me! Additionally (here I go jumbling again!), I feel that the acting on daytime is MUCH better than on primetime and in movies. On the soap genre, these people have to be able to do EVERYTHING, since they, as people on the show, have to go THROUGH everything, just like real people! It's not a slice of a half hour or an hour where they're acting under a set of circumstances in which they have to act a certain way! These people work long, hard hours, and have to memorize MUCH more script than primetime people and movie people (and that has been stated by many nighttime actors). These people (for the most part I mean--not ALL of them are really good, but most are) are hard workers who do an excellent job, and then are denigrated by the press, by primetime and movie people. When, in actuality, it should be the other way around! There are not very many movies I allow in my house, because I find most of them stupid, shallow and not worth watching! However, the people on the shows are welcomed into my home every day! (Now you WILL think I'm a nut!)

On December 15, 2005 at 9:35 AM, Sam Ford said:

Several of my C3 associates are big fans of House. Although I haven't really gotten into it, I hear that it's a well-developed and nuanced show.

I agree that the acting is tremendous on ATWT and comparable to some of the best, especially when you're talking about the top 20 of the cast. The thing people forget about soaps is that an ensemble cast is much larger on a soap opera than any other show. And people seem to lump all the soaps together when there is a definitely quality factor across the shows. Even when the writing in ATWT storylines are bad, the actual writing of the show is almost always good, with little redundancy and flashbacks, for instance.

The fact that soaps have been on for so long and are a staple of television helps you invest in the characters more because viewers can feel assured that, once they've invested in the show, they won't lose on the investment in the long run becuase it will continue on, and that's why it is smart for soaps to reward and recognize history and continuity regarding their history in their storylines.

Emotional capital in storylines is essential when you're talking about soap opera. For instance, around the year 1996 or so, ATWT hit a definite lowpoint. But, it was hard to give the show up, even if there was terrible writing and storylines, becuase the characters had been so well-developed for so long and the acting was so strong. In the past few months, the writers really seem to be taking advantage of that attachment to existing characters and trimming the fat, somewhat. Although I hated to see Iris, Sierra, and Ben get demoted, it is great to see characters like Keith and B.J. written out, as well as the Ortegas, so the concentration will be on core families.

This emotional connection is one of the things we want to focus on here at C3. There is an economic incentive for producers to develop that, not just on soaps but anywhere and everywhere, in entertainment and in brand development, but it also benefits the fans because you want that ability to connect. That's what makes watching something like a soap worth spending your time on. My feeling is that people are willing to spend quite a bit of time with a property if there were depth.

Did you see the great piece on Michael Zaslow in last week's Soap Opera Digest, by the way?

Not a nut at all, feemeister. This is why I think a few nighttime shows have excelled over time...the ones that look at how soaps have developed long-term interaction, etc. What is hurting the soap opera industry is the stereotypes people have developed about soaps, the housewife stereotype as well as soaps promoting docile and tamed women, and the idea that soaps are full of cheesy dialogue, overacting, constant redundancy, etc. The only way people will ever find out differently is for the shows to work overtime and put money into marketing differently. Possibly even embracing the fact that, while ATWT doesn't do well in key demographic, they should take advantage of the viewers they do have, that generally makes them the thrid most popular show on daytime television.