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  • Reality TV MarketingMy dad has a Monday routine. He plays soccer in the evening. Then he comes home, sits back and watches a recording of “The Bachelor” (or Bachelorette).

    He doesn’t watch it because he like what the show is “supposed to be.” He watches it because he finds it incredibly amusing and funny. And he enjoys seeing the places they get to travel to.

    I recently took a trip back home and joined him in this Monday routine. It was, indeed, a great way to spend a Monday night. Especially when the show is accompanied by a beer (or 3).

    This particular episode had a live audience. The part that was shocking to me was how seriously people took the show. They were truly emotionally invested in it. It shouldn’t be a shock to me because I personally know people that relate to the characters on the show and begin to “like” them.

    I say “characters” because nothing about reality TV is actually real.

    But here’s the thing…whether my dad watches the show because he takes it seriously or because he finds it amusing doesn’t really matter. The fact remains that he watches it. And I can’t blame it…it’s entertaining. And it’s genius marketing.

    Here’s why…

    People Are Generally Gullible

    I think my dad is probably the exception when it comes to people who watch these shows. I’m willing to bet the vast majority watch and root for the people on the show to find true love.

    People want to believe (cue the x-files music).

    Reality TV Marketing

    Forget the fact that if you only let people interact with one person of the opposite sex for an extended period of time they’ll fall in love with anyone. And add free trips to exotic places on top of it. Oh…and a good helping of booze. Now love is in the air.

    But most people are gullible. They want to be.

    Most people are gullible when you’re telling them something they want to hear.
    Takeaway: Tell people exactly what you need them to know (or you want them to believe).

    Stories Sell

    Did I already mention that there’s nothing real about reality TV?

    The fact is, reality TV producers are experts at crafting stories. If they aren’t straight up telling people what to do or say, they will set up situations where the cast will act in a desired manner.

    As I already said, the conditions created by a show like “The Bachelor” can make anyone fall in love with anyone. The show crafts a love story.

    Stories sell.

    Love stories sell great.

    And if you can sell someone a fantasy, that’s even better.

    That’s precisely the reason you see so many unrealistic headlines all over the internet. I can make $67,363.27 in 30 seconds of work?! Where do I sign up? 

    Takeaway: Tell a story. Everyone, every business, every company, has one.

    Claude Hopkins was one of the greatest advertisers who ever lived because he knew how to craft stories. His book, “My Life in Advertising,” will show you exactly how he used stories to sell.

    And if you need some personal attention and help in your story-crafting, shoot me an email

    You Need a Target

    Let’s get back to selling fantasies for a moment.

    There’s a reason that there is a bachelor and a bachelorette.

    It’s so both sexes can fantasize about going away to exotic locations with a whole group of hot individuals from the opposite sex. It’s so both sexes can start relating to the characters and begin to form emotions towards them. And maybe a small part of it is to keep gender rights groups off their back.

    You didn’t think it was all in the name of fairness did you?

    It’s obviously a lot easier for women to fantasize about being the bachelorette rather than being the bachelor…and vice versa.

    To sell more effectively you need a target audience.

    Takeaway: Know who you are telling your story to and give them something they can relate to. 

    Don’t Always Look for “New”

    Continuity can go a long way in marketing and advertising.

    From my understanding each new season’s bachelor or bachelorette is usually someone that made it close to the end in a previous season. They came so close to finding love, after all…let’s give them another shot!

    And it’s usually someone that was pretty popular on a previous season (surprise!).

    This gets a lot of the audience sucked in because they want to follow that individuals story. It creates a streamline fort he audience to follow. Viewers of previous seasons are more likely to watch the next one.

    It’s always easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one.

    So what does that mean for you?

    Takeaway: Figure out how you can extend product and service lines to provide your customers with more value. If you can provide something additional to what you already do, and it’s related to your current offerings, you can get more value per customer. 

    The good news is it doesn’t take a whole team of producers and marketers to create a great marketing (and content marketing) strategy. You know your story better than anyone. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it is and how to tell it. If you’re starting from scratch, check out the Content Strategy 101 series to get you going. And feel free to contact me for personalized help. 


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    2 Responses to The Genius Marketing Behind The Bachelor(ette)

    1. Lisa says:

      This is easily my favorite post! I also love these shows, but watch for the same reasons your dad does. Some of what you’re discussing aligns with the communication theory, “Parasocial Interaction”… you’re probably familiar but in case you’re not, it’s pretty fascinating.

    2. Jeff MacKay says:

      People want to believe in magic. The trick is giving it to them in a consistent way that remains magical and never lets them see behind the curtain.

    Leave a Reply to Lisa Cancel reply