Pulling the Plug on Utopia

News comes today that the highly ambitious Network Television show Utopia is being canceled. Rumors are that the show cost an estimated $50 million to produce. This is an unprecedented amount for reality television, which is typically known to be quite cost effective (read: incredibly cheap).

Why was this particular production saddled with such an exorbitant price tag? For one, it was an extremely long production…it was supposed to air over the course of a year. In addition, it was not bound to a single location like a house, but rather over a large, sprawling area. Thus the amount of cameras that were required and the new technology utilized ending up being quite costly.

So what happened? Well, bluntly put: somebody forgot to do their market research. That this comes as a surprise as

at the time of the premiere, Laurel Bernard, Fox’s executive vice president for marketing, said 25 to 30 people at the network were working on the marketing alone.

But this marketing fell short, obviously. Someone forgot to take a look at the market trends, the people values, the demand from the general population. You see, the very premise of the show did not work. People were not eliminated and there was no real reality to this show whatsoever. And so viewers didn’t stay. All that marketing, so narrowly focused…ended up not being marketing at all but simply “patting on the back.”

What does your marketing tell you? Does it point to what is trending in your particular field? Or is it simply patting you on the back and telling you you’re doing a good job? Marketing cannot be self-serving. It has to start with the people rather than the product. It has to understand the people and who they are and then, and only then, will it find an entry point into their lives with your product.

Make sure you don’t end up pulling the plug on your own utopia.
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