For decades, television marketing executives have been tackling the issue of retention – the ability to keep a viewer on their network for an extended period of time.
With the boom of digital cable, TiVo and endless online entertainment, retention has become even more difficult. A few media conglomerates have fined tuned programming blocks to maximize viewership and market share. Programming blocks occur when television networks schedule similar shows back-to-back.
For those of us in the thirty-something crowd, we remember programming blocks like TGIF on ABC in the late 1980’s which featured shows such as Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, Full House and Step By Step. While family programs like these targeted all ages, current programming blocks seem to target more specific demographics.
Fox Networks Group (FNG) became a leader in blocked programming with several blocks on different Fox stations. The most prominent of their blocks is Animation Domination which features animated shows for adults such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and the Cleveland Show. While these shows push the envelope with crass and sometime offensive content, they captured the attention of the 18-49 male demographic. This very loyal demo boosted Fox Broadcasting Company (FBC) to the top of their time slot.
Many find this line of programming at odds with the image that NewsCorp has created for the ‘Fox’ brand through ultra-conservative brands Fox News and Fox News Radio which promote strict Christian family values and conservative ideology. The genius behind the Fox machine realizes that there is money to be made off of the political/cultural divide. The more polarized the population, the more Fox can target and capitalize off of opposing ideologies.
While Fox News pushes further to the right, FNG pushes steadfastly to the left with their liberal/progressive comedies. Newer programming blocks such as Adult Swim and Fully Baked really push the envelope with such crass and vulgar (yet hilarious) content that in many ways promotes homosexuality and even marijuana use.
The Fully Baked Girl on FX (Maria Zyrianova) appears on break bumpers for the late night FX programming block. For those of you who don’t know, the term “Fully Baked” refers to a person who is thoroughly wasted on marijuana. The Fully Baked Girl is covered in baking tattoos and is baking what appears to be marijuana pastries in a throwback 1960’s dress and a blonde wig. Her ultra domestic style contrasted by her overwhelming tattoos topped with her Russian accent contribute to her sex appeal that reels in men of all ages… especially those stoned on a Saturday night.
So while young men across America are recovering from laughter caused by Archer and Unsupervised, they secretly are waiting for the commercial break to be lulled by the Russian siren baking for her man. It’s truly genius.
Watch this video compilation of a few Fully Baked promos. Unfortunately, the “This cake is heavy” piece is not included… Sorry.
Bold step by FX right? Not really.
Due to the historical stigma of marijuana, only 12% of those surveyed in 1969 supported legal recreational marijuana use. With the help of the internet and the abundance of credible information sources, by 2011, Gallup reported that for the first time, more Americans (50%) support the legal recreational use of marijuana than oppose it (46%). The support is strongest among liberals (69%) and with the young adult demographic (62%) and weakest among conservatives (35%) and senior citizens (31%).
This is significant because the 18 – 29 year-old demographic that most strongly supports legal recreational marijuana use will greatly outnumber those who don’t in as little as five years. So what FX is doing is building a relationship with a rapidly growing demographic and ideology that is currently being ignored due to the sensitivity of the issue and the polarization of the nation.
The question now is, will the Fully Baked Girl on FX retreat from the assault of the religious right before she can capitalize off of this emerging market, or will the Fox News machine turn a blind eye to their sister network?
Only time will tell.