CASE STUDY: MARKETING THE ‘LOST’ TV DRAMA
ABC’S Integrated Marketing Strategy
MODULE TITLE: MARKETING MANAGEMENT AND STRATEGY
WORD COUNT: 1999
The objective of this report is to critically analyse the case “Marketing the ‘Lost’ TV Drama Series” applying the relevant concepts of Marketing Management and Strategy. ABC has introduced the show in 2004 and since then legions of fans follow the adventures of the survivors of a plane crash in a deserted island. The network seems to have covered all angles on an extensive and innovative marketing campaign that integrated several media and benchmarked this segment of the TV shows in the United States. Although challenging and barely attractive (Porter’s Five Forces), the TV show segment can be very rewarding to the successful companies daring enough to enter it. With an unique product, a fundamentally intelligent marketing campaign and the demonstrated knowledge of its customer’s behaviour, it is obvious that ABC’s success was not incidental. They relied heavily in extensive market research in order to segment, target and position the show with unprecedented accuracy. However, an ethical question was raised. This sophisticated campaign, based to a large extent in viral marketing, was heavily criticised by analysts that accused ABC of blurring the line between reality and fiction. Nonetheless, this is the very competitive edge the company has built to differentiate itself from rivals.
Innovation, maximisation, creativity and risk are adjectives easily associated with the ABC integrated marketing campaign employed to launch the TV series “LOST” (LOST). Innovative strategies, some borrowed from Hollywood and the film industry, marked the launching of the series in the US. The company maximised the exposure of the show to the target market by using new and creative ways of delivering their product. Additionally, the network accepted a very high level of risk when it took the decision to conduct such a sophisticated (and successful) marketing campaign. However, pioneering usually entails criticism, and some analysts consider that ABC was responsible for hazing the border between show business and the real world. Nevertheless, that is the company’s biggest achievement: to mingle reality with marketing feats to make the series fans involved all year long. This report will cover some of the strategies used to market LOST and discuss the impact of the innovative actions that culminated in the benchmarking of this segment of the television in the US. Analyses of External and Internal Environments and a Marketing Mix design were used in order to describe and criticise the main features of the company’s marketing campaign. Such a care and focus on the customer denotes a Market Concept approach driven by and refined for the end-customer rather than an Industry Concept one.
3.1 EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
According to Porter’s Five Forces theory (Kotler and Kelly 2006), the TV shows segment is unattractive for the following reasons: a.
Threat of intense rivalry among competitors: This segment has large, strong and aggressive competitors (TV Networks) with fair access to financing. b.
Threat of new entrants: Both entry and exit barriers are very high. This is a high investment segment to entry. Reputation plays a significant role when considering dropping a show. Thus, considering the new entrants’ aspect this is a relatively attractive market to enter. c.
Threat of substitute products: There are plenty of substitutes for this TV show. Seasonality can reduce LOST’s awareness and almost every form of entertainment can be a substitute for watching television. d.
Threat of buyer’s growing bargaining power: The viewers of LOST have an overwhelming degree of power. They can choose which show to watch, when to watch it, in their preferred media. They can even opt for seeing the commercials or not. e.
Threat of suppliers: Until...
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