Date: September 19, 2011
Key to Success: The art of the tease
“Two and a Half Men’s” situation is no secret. It’s out with the tiger blood and in with the Twitter-fi end with trucker hats. Instead of ignoring the gossip, CBS played it up with a tease campaign based on fan curiosity. After Charlie Sheen’s publicized exit and Ashton Kutcher’s appearance at the CBS Upfront in May, “Two and a Half Men” stirred up a media frenzy.
While most networks prepare for the fall season with clips and trailers, “Two and a Half Men” went in another direction with a teaser campaign that took on a life of its own, promoting the premiere by laying up the viewers’ unanswered questions.
“It’s a very different situation that we have when we’re launching new programs or even relaunching existing programs, because there, we want to show what’s happening,” said George Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group. “Here, we don’t. It’s almost the inverse strategy.”
In July, with no trailer and no show footage, to build up suspense for the premiere after a summer of turmoil, CBS began dropping hints by releasing the poster of the (presumably) naked cast covered up by a sign saying “All will be revealed… 9.19.11.” It became so popular that they took the still shot, animated it and created a :05 billboard to use on the network as well. Later, an image from the new curtain call show open with Kutcher was released for “Two and a Half Men” and both went viral quickly, driving people to the big premiere event to get their answers.