Fall TV season is right! around! the corner!, which means the campaigns for new shows are getting into gear, and as usual, network marketing big cheeses are coming up with unusual ways to promote their series. Exhibit A: The campaign for the Courteney Cox-led Cougar Town is including faux ads for Cox’s character’s real estate agency. (Similar signs are a plot point in the pilot episode, too. Synergy, you guys!) The ads will run on benches and bus stops like ordinary real estate spots, which is a cute idea, I guess, except I only ever notice those signs when the agent’s photo makes me chuckle. Why would you pick the photo where you have serial killer face?! etc.
According to an ABC marketing executive, “It’s important to us that we position [the show] in the right way. We don’t want people to think that she’s purely a predator. We want people to know that this is a comedy, and that Courteney is playing a professional woman who is a fun and likable character.”
I have high hopes for the series, based on how much I liked the pilot and how devoted I am to Bill Lawrence (a lot on both counts), and I know it’s too late to change the show’s title, but man, if your marketing team has to make sure people don’t think your lead character is a “predator,” that seems like an uphill battle. Isn’t it passe already to call someone a “cougar”? It’s like using the term “metrosexual.” Blech. I know it’s a joke — the town’s sports teams are the Cougars — but it’s hard to see the word “cougar” as anything other than derogatory and objectifying, which conflicts with the show’s congenial silliness. Lawrence and Co. swore at the TCA press tour that Cox’s character wouldn’t be entertaining new suitors every week, so the relationship-specific moniker seems like an even worse idea.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Does the name “Cougar Town” bug you, or could this ad campaign convince you to give it a whirl?