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  • December 2005
    S M T W T F S
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Martha did it right

I sometimes watch The Apprentice, but only the Martha Stewart version. That’s not true, I’ve actually watched both, but you’d never see me putting that in print. What a minute…

Anyway, I watched the episode that aired on December 7th where the teams had to come up with 30-second spots for a new flight from Song Airlines. If it’s still sitting in your TiVo waiting for you to watch it, then I suggest you quit reading this. If you already saw it or don’t care, then continue reading.

I came in just after the program started, so I missed the beginning where they set up the task. I only had to watch about 3 minutes to know there was going to be trouble that night. The first thing I saw was one of the teams describing their commercial vision. It entailed sports. It was actually all about sports. Then I saw this same team call the execs at Song to discuss the target audience of their airline. They proceeded to describe a woman, in her 30s or 40s, who travels a lot. A red flag went up in my mind. Then the second team member said something to the effect of, and here I am paraphrasing: It didn’t matter what their target audience was, Ryan already decided what our concept was. At this point I wasn’t even sure what their task was, but I knew there would be trouble. I said to my wife, “oh, this is going to be good, they’re both going to get fired!”

And I was right. This wasn’t even a PR situation, but the lesson here is obvious. Know your target audience. Besides the fact that Ryan’s ad was incoherent, poorly acted, and drunkenly produced, the target audience was all wrong. Marcela knew right off the bat there was a problem, but guess what? She didn’t say anything to the contrary.

One thing I’ve learned from watching the show is that the execs (Martha, et al) insist on members telling their project leaders when they’ve gone astray. I’m not sure how much they would agree with that if one of their own subordinates were chirping in their ears, but I got the point. They like it when others are getting heckled. But that’s not my central point.

Lesson learned: Know your audience. Especially in PR where we can have enough trouble evaluating what we do and justifying our existences to a dominant coalition that doesn’t get it. Know your publics, know who they are made up of, and know how to reach them. And that’s a good start.