Last night was NBC's live production of "The Sound of Music", one of my favorite musicals. I thought there were a couple interesting business lessons worth sharing.
1. When there is already a "Rolls Royce" quality product out there with the same name (e.g., the beloved film starring Julie Andrews), make sure you don't set yourself up to fail, before you even start. The Twittersphere was more focused on comparing the live production to the film, that they completely lost focus that this version was based on the original Broadway show, not the film, and how hard it was to pull off a high quality live production (which this was).
2. When you aggressively market your new product for weeks leading up to launch, including a brand-name star like Carrie Underwood, you better make sure you deliver in the execution, as the expectations will be really high. The reality last night was Carrie is a great singer and did the songs justice. But, she is not a trained actress, especially compared to the well-trained other cast members, and her acting, when not singing, fell short for many. This hurt the social buzz, right from the start.
3. Kudos to Walmart, for tying their advertising directly in the theme of the show, including a "few of their favorite things" themed ad spots, including a music track from the show.
4. Kudos to DiGiorno Pizza. I was following the Twitter chatter for most of the night, assessing fan reaction. And, about half way through the show, I started to see repeated posts from DiGiorno which basically piggy-backed on the #TheSoundOfMusicLive hashtag which was trending all night. They used funny Sound of Music related tweets, like "You are 16, going on 17, and I assume you'd like a pizza for your birthday". Want to get your brand out there? Hijack a top trending hashtag for your own needs, in a smart and relevant way.
5. And, of course, Twitter, tightened its stronghold on controlling the social conversations around live television, with the Twittersphere on fire last night. I bet Julie Andrews never thought she would be trending all night!! But, for all the wrong reasons for Carrie Underwood.
I really enjoyed the show, and appreciated it for what it was: good family TV watching. Kudos to NBC for taking the risk with creative programming. Kudos to the cast, for a job well done.
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