Dance and Marketing: So You Think You Can Franchise?
A Summer of Dance, followed by…
You guessed it! Back to school this year will bring even more dance than usual. But with the barrage of dance shows on the fall television line up, it will either be a fall of dance or a dance fall off. With any luck—and a bit of my eternal optimism thrown in—I believe this season will finally establish in people’s minds how much dance is already a part of pop culture. What’s the big deal? Well, So You Think You Can Dance, that little show that broke everyone’s expectations by churning out hit season after hit season, will break expectations again when it jumps out of its usual summer slot. Right now the show is on FOX for its fifth season, but as soon as “America’s Favorite Dancer” (said in Cat Deeley’s delicious accent, of course) inherits Joshua Allen’s crown, he or she will have to pass it on to the winner of the sixth season, which kicks off this fall. Auditions around the country have already been announced, but these dancers better prepare themselves for a test of a different kind: they’re going to be competing with television’s dance juggernaut, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.
Bruno Tonioli battling Nigel Litgoe, fun…
This is the kind of competition we should welcome; after all, it’s great news for dance in every capacity, as a little exposure never hurt anyone. I can’t recall dance ever having this type of mainstream support before, with two major networks airing prime time dance themed shows on the fall schedule. It’s no secret that the viewers have loved dance for a long time (I mean, how many B-list celebrities have competed on Stars so far?!), but what this schedule confirms is that the advertisers must be as satisfied as the viewers. If the advertisers, networks (which have little risk with low cost reality shows), and audiences are all happy, then dance MUST be a part of pop culture, right?
So You Think You Can Sweat?
The true test of pop culture relevance comes with the ability to sell merchandise. Television shows and movies were practically invented to sell DVDs and action figures. SYTYCD is trying to make its mark after four seasons (and three tours) that have yielded a collection of products targeting the die hard fans with an impulse to buy a Lacey t-shirt or a souvenir portfolio. But now, the show will finally release DVDs developed specifically to bring the brand to an even larger audience. Wholesalers like Wal Mart and Barnes & Noble will sell two fitness DVDs produced by Paramount and featuring Travis Wall, Lauren Gotlieb, Stitch and many more contestants. You may not be ale to purchase past seasons, but this series, where dancers demonstrate routines, may be enough to get you in shape to compete for a spot on the series. It’s yet another benchmark in the show’s expansion to a larger audience, one that treats dance not as a novelty but a necessity. The producers of SYTYCD are also responsible for [Insert Your Citizenship] Idol and [Insert Your Country]’s Got Talent, so they’re no strangers to branding. But now they’re at a key turning point with dance. What will it be? Mass consumption that results in delight? Or mass consumption that results in an overdose? Tune in this fall for the results…
David Benaym – Editor in Chief, Movmnt Magazine
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