The Tao of Grizzlies and a Mid-Season TV Launch (Column)

Dave Lyons explains how to really win over the press

Dave Lyons is president of Dave Lyons Public Relations*

The Canadian television landscape is vast. So vast, it’s often hard for new series to be seen and heard. A strong public relations strategy is required to help fledgling Canadian TV series break through the clutter and become winners among critics and viewers.

Dave Lyons, president, DLPR

While there have been a few TV shows that have found success based solely on their extraordinary writing, great-looking stars, and spot-on societal critiques – shows like Kids In The Hall, for example – they are rare, exalted gems. Legends, really. Beyond compare.

Programs entering the fray during television’s increasingly crowded mid-season present their own unique PR challenges. It is a necessity to parade the genius and charm of their established stars, and wave pom-poms for the talents of their bright and shiny new ones. It is a requirement to boast the magic of each show’s production pedigree and to celebrate their unprecedented writing prowess.

And yes, it is essential to give journalists free stuff. Too often, the role of public relations is dismissed by industry execs who assume media just want free cheese and crackers—and wine.

At DLPR, we go further. In order to really make an impact, you need to dive deeper and peer directly into the souls of media influencers to find exactly what kind of cheese and wine they want. Hell, maybe they want scotch. I want scotch.

I once had a mentor who said that PR is a wild animal. If you tame that animal, you will produce a majestic beast. If you let that animal run free, it can and will come back to bite you. Unfortunately my mentor was mounted and mauled by a grizzly bear at the Banff World Media Festival, but I digress.

While mid-season success can be that majestic beast for which so many TV execs spend their careers hunting, it is vitally important that broadcasters have the right communications strategy to find it.

Failing a decent PR campaign, try premiering the show right after The Big Bang Theory and sending viewers free wine and cheese. And scotch. Don’t forget about the scotch.

* – Not really. Dave Lyons is Dave Foley, comedian, actor and the star of Spun Out, which debuts March 6 on CTV. This “column” (which he contributed for free) originally appeared in the March issue of Marketing, available now to subscribers and on newsstands. Look for it on your iPad too.

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