Network: NBC

Date: April 26, 2011

Viewers: 11.8

Key to Success: Stand out from the clutter

In the heavily saturated market of singing competitions, The Voice needed to show it had something truly new and different to offer that could drum up attention. So when #TheVoice became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter on its premiere night, it did just that.

“I think key for us in launching this entire thing was differentiation,” said Tim Farish, SVP, marketing, West Coast Entertainment, at NBC Universal. “The singing competition marketplace is filled with other competitors, both successful – American Idol – but well paved with many failures too. With this, everybody truly had quality voices. There’s no gag reel. There’s not a lot left on the cutting room floor of the William Hungs of the world.”

After spending time showing viewers that The Voice had credible and dynamic coaches who were invested in the contestants, not just judges grading as they go, the marketing turned to where the singing competition’s target audience already was: online. An intense Twitter campaign was part of the digital strategy, and NBC partnered with iTunes to sell the songs from contestants’ performances after each episode. New parent company Comcast also lent its hand with actionable promos on its platforms, including Xfi nity, where viewers could access advanced content or get reminders to record or watch the premiere.

Key to the marketing strategy was to be disruptive to get viewers’ attention, said Farish, so The Voice also aired extended sneak peeks to the show before Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show during the week before its premiere.

With a stand-out premise in a crowded talent show market and a top-trending digital campaign to help it stick out from the competition, The Voice’s ratings even increased for its second week, one of the only primetime series this season on the big broadcast nets to do so.


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