Sounds and smells wafting their way into our consciousness transport us back in time. They recall memories that seem like only yesterday.
The Tonight Show theme does that to me.
Staying up late to watch Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show was a big deal when I was young. I dreamed a TV of my own so I could watch while in bed. Now that would be awesome living.
I don't stay up late much anymore. I haven't for years. As the Tonight Show transitioned from Johnny to Jay Leno, I lost touch, aside from the occasional clips that appeared on the news, YouTube or Facebook the day after Jay spun his monologue. Apparently I wasn't the only viewer drop-out. The Tonight Show brand is still strong, but the producers were looking for a younger audience. They pushed Jay Leno aside for Jimmy Fallon. Producers want to “mix it up”, to pitch products to viewers who can keep their eyes open after the 10 o'clock news.
Sounds like a good idea. The show has been around for a long time. It probably needed a face lift. But why now? The answer is simple: The Millennials.
Millennials are those born after 1980. They run the age gamut from teenagers to people in their early 30's. They're a force to be reckoned with when it comes to buying products and services. Of the approximately 92 million people watching late night television, some 68 million are in the coveted millennial demographic.
According to Evan Shapiro, president of Participant Television, Millennials still prefer to watch TV live in the traditional manner. But they want to chat in real time about what they are viewing. They want to have their say in what is being said and happening as things unfold in front of their eyes. Shapiro emphasizes that the Millennial Generation is under-served as a group, even though they constitute the bulk of the most important television demographic.
The Tonight Show and other traditional shows are switching to catch up. What does that mean not only for television advertisers, but for all advertisers who want to make Millennials their target audience? Michael Riley, president of ABC Family, believes it means reaching out to, "television-viewing, fan-tweeting, app-using, blog-discussing, text-chatting, mobile-watching consumers."
That's what the Tonight Show is attempting to do with a new face, multiple screens and social media platforms to supplant the traditional “water cooler” program critiques. The producers also are mixing in viral videos, celebrity games and A-list guests.
The verdict's still out on whether it will work. Making the change was a calculated risk. Taking calculated risks is a key element to business success. The Tonight Show could have continued as it was. How long it could have continued is debatable. What can't be debated is time always brings change. Those who are afraid to take calculated risks to keep pace will be left behind.
However, be mindful of this caveat: making changes simply for the sake of change isn't taking a calculated risk. It's diving off the board without assurance there's water in the pool. Taking a calculated risk is making changes based on a clear and current understanding of your target audiences, their demographics and the most effective means of communicating with them. Knowing where you want to go, what you want to do and how you best can get there takes a lot of risk out of calculated risks.
Millennials are out there with money in their pockets. Go for'em.
To Jimmy Fallon, good luck. To Johnny and Jay, thanks for the memories.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.