Magazine article Variety

'Wear' Web Auds Vote Style

Magazine article Variety

'Wear' Web Auds Vote Style

Article excerpt

TLC is launching an online event for its long-running hit "What Not to Wear" that offers a twist in TV and social media synergy: during the show's first-ever studio audience taping, fans will be able to vote on a guest's style makeover at home with just a few clicks of a mouse.

That's no mean feat, given the logistics of the endeavor. Due to the fact the lead time for a typical episode of "What Not to Wear" is frequently more than two months, coordinating efforts to let online auds make choices in March that won't be seen by TV viewers until May requires crack publicity and a dedicated fail base.

There are a number of shows in development that are embedding social TV platforms to do similar things, but this might well be me first that will use social media to allow viewers to participate and influence the actual direction of a show, says Social TV Summit conference CEO Andy Batkin, who developed the branding and media strategy for YahooVs launch. Batkin has consulted on several upcoming interactive shows - almost all in the reality TV genre - and says the first of the bunch are likely to debut at this May's upfronts.

On the morning of the March 14 "What Not to Wear" taping, a description of the episode's style-challenged makeover subject (who the show calls the "contributor") will be posted on the show's website (at TLC.com) and Facebook page (facebook.com/WhatNotTbWear). Photos of style options will be posted shortly thereafter, and put to online votes.

TLC's social media team will present the poll results (and a few user-submitted questions) to the show's hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, hairstylist Ted Gibson, makeup artist Carmindy, the contributor, guest makeover subjects from past episodes and some 150 audience members recruited from the show's online fan base.

Fans will see real-time data on how votes are polling on the site, but won't hear their questions to the hosts answered - or see their makeover choices - until the show airs in May.

The event taps into the show's strong and rapidly growing online presence. The number of "Wear" official Facebook page fans jumped 60% since March 201 1 to more than 900,000 fans today, and the page received 41 million impressions during the first half of season nine (Aug. …

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