About two weeks ago it was announced that during the Thanksgiving weekend, Plum TV would debut its new show Mr. Internet. Plum is a bit of an obscure network that is broadcast in eight high-end resort markets such as the Hamptons and Vail and focuses on the culture of these communities. It caught my attention because it is being produced by advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky(CP+B), which is the same firm behind the current Microsoft campaign.
This is not the first time a TV show grew out of advertising firms. Two significant examples are Caveman and Schooled. However, if there is one thing that can be said of CP+B, it is that it takes risks. I think it is fair to say the firm believes monumental success cannot be achieved without allowing for complete failure. This is why I am always drawn to the firm’s new ventures ,and simply put, this concept happens to be the premise for great creative marketing.
Mr. Internet reminds me very much of Talk Soup circa the late 90s, except its host is antithesis of John Henson. Dave Schiff the VP and group creative director at CP+B is emblazoned with tattoos and describing him as edgy would be an understatement. It appears he has seen a weight room or two in his lifetime as well. Why would I focus on this? Simple. While content is crucial, the success of shows like Talk Soup and Mr. Internet hinge entirely on the likeability of the host. Case in point, Talk Soup was widely watched with its first two hosts (Greg Kinnear and John Henson), but fell off the map once Hal Sparks took the reigns. It took nearly half the show, but I think I get the selection of Dave Schiff as host and believe he will bring strong, direct credibility.
The first episode of Mr. Internet was a wild ride. I think the content was great, and was surprised that its knowledge of internet memes was broad enough that it offered something to both novices and Web 2.0 experts. Without a doubt the best segment of episode 1 was with Christian Lander, creator of the Web site Stuff White People Like. The site looks at stereotypes in a comical fashion (not racist) and has had more than 30 million visits. Some how I was completely unaware of this site that has now morphed into a New York Times best selling book. I am a particular fan of Stuff White People Like #18 – Awareness.
The two main drawbacks to Mr. Internet is that the video quality when watching online is poor and the only place you can find it is on Plum. Despite these limitations, I look forward to see how the show develops.