The Buzz

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When was the last time you saw a random act of kindness? Kindness in this case is being employed to entice viewers to watch TV, and the beneficiaries will be New Yorkers, as CBS looks for better ratings for feel-good drama "Joan of Arcadia." The Eye network and its grassroots marketing agency Buzztone will unleash some good deeds to spike interest in "Joan," a critically lauded drama that's recently stumbled in the ratings.

Teams of do-gooders will be dispatched midweek in New York City to help people with packages, buy them a cup of coffee to ward off the January chill or give them a bus pass. Then they'll hand the person a card hyping "Joan," which has gone from 11.1 million viewers last TV season to 8.4 million on average this season, according to Nielsen.

"The point is to bring elements of the show into people's lives," said Ron Scalera, CBS's senior VP-creative director, advertising and promotion. "This kind of alternative marketing is becoming more and more important."

The tactic is intended to reflect the content of the show, in which God appears to the title character in various human forms. The promo ties in with "Joan" getting a makeover, returning to its uplifting roots, and promoting an upcoming episode with teen queen Hilary Duff.

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