Fake News Releae
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Gini Dietrich

CBS Issues Fake (and Totally Awesome) News Release

By: Gini Dietrich | June 21, 2012 | 
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Did you hear the news that CBS sued ABC over their new show called The Glass House?

Apparently CBS thinks it’s a direct rip-off of Big Brother, the reality show that follows a group of strangers living together in a house where they’re recorded and filmed 24/7.

And, to be fair, The Glass House also follows a group of strangers living together in a completely wired and state-of-the-art house. The only difference? The audience gets to vote on who stays and who goes.

But CBS lost a battle last week when a judge denied the restraining order which would prevent ABC from airing the show.

The Fake News Release

But CBS wasn’t finished. They issued a news release announcing the development of a new show called Dancing on the Stars.

See for yourself:

Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, ground-breaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network. Moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.

And in follow-up interviews, a CBS spokesperson added:

This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that’s totally unlike anything anywhere else, honest. Given the current creative and legal environment in the reality programming business, we’re sure nobody will have any problem with Dancing on the Stars or our upcoming half-hour comedy for prime time, Postmodern Family. After all, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

I personally like the “honest” at the end of the first sentence. The sarcasm gives me great joy!

Too Far?

But did CBS take this too far?

I know there have been certain situations where I’ve wanted to do the same. Heck, we have a former client that we haven’t worked with for nearly two years that I still want to call out in writing…maybe even in my weekly Crain’s column.

But I don’t know if I’d have the cajones to do this (clearly I don’t in the case of the former client).

My take? Bravo, CBS! Bravo! After all, they’re right. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

What do you think?

Update: I was playing with VoteIt and decided to add a poll here. Now you can have your say with multiple choice!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

236 comments
ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@daveegauthier I still think that was hilarious.

db
db

@ShellyKramer @ginidietrich It's childish. They lost the lawsuit. It's sour grapes and doesn't look good on them.

UZMPhantom
UZMPhantom

@eric_andersen @cbs bravo CBS!!!

luzdonahue
luzdonahue

@burgessct @spinsucks Ha! I'd watch Postmodern family hehe. The show was interesting and pretty funny but I couldnt take that obnoxious guy

rose.diaz23
rose.diaz23

I think it is pretty funny for CBS to come out with a press release like that. It might have been a little wrong but it was very funny. I could see why they were upset about it; the show is very similar to Big Brother. Since I love Big Brother, a co-worker at Dish told me to check out this show. It was automatically recorded using PrimeTime Anytime on the Hopper, so I was able to watch it this morning while I was getting ready for work. I enabled the AutoHop feature and was able to skip right over the ads, which saved me 20 minutes this morning to do other things. The show was good, but I could wait for Big Brother to come back.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Oh, poo. See what happens when I come late? 215 already and that's not nap time.

 

That said...when you're CBS, you can get away with this. Long live the press release! The press release is not dead! Contrary to what @dannybrown might think or write about. And, as per the Project Eve member who said it's no longer called a press release, rather it's a "media" release? Really? Never heard of such a thing in all my decades of being a purist (no longer).

 

There, did I say something different than any of the other 150 jamokes? ('Cuz I know the other 65 are one liners from the banterrific Gin Blossom.)

ladylaff
ladylaff

I loved it.  It appeals to my (acquired) British sense of irony, but it also makes an intelligent point.  Score!

aileenabella
aileenabella

@ginidietrich So cool they can laugh at themselves!

newsle
newsle

@ginidietrich Funny! Some PR manager they've got. (Perhaps ABC needs to setup a Newsle account to track their brand: http://t.co/oEV42fpu)

annedreshfield
annedreshfield

I see both sides. I laughed when I read this, and yeah, it's a little childish, but come on. It's funny. If a big network can roll out something like this with sarcasm, that's just awesome. It's better than cut-and-dry, whiny legalese language explaining why it's not fair that they lost.

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

Perfect diamond cut by the Tiffany Network...I can hear the glass shatter over at ABC. Perhaps ABC should reinstitute their old slogan 'Start Fresh' because CBS usurped their 'The Fun Starts Here'.

AbbieF
AbbieF

Gini -- I'm surprised at you...you really think this is "totally awesome?" How does issuing a fake news release, albeit one that is meant to be a joke, awesome?  And to have it appear on their official news site? Is this an example of a strategic public relations move? Have some fun, sure, but don't disguise it as a news release -- buy an ad for this kind of thing.

bdorman264
bdorman264

That was awesome; that is one reality show I might watch............

NickGilham
NickGilham

@AMBabka I’m excited about Dancing on the Stars

mayashoucair
mayashoucair

@ginidietrich Disagree! I thought it was so immature and I couldn't believe someone actually approved it.

EnergyMemphis
EnergyMemphis

@LizJostes @spinsucks We've all wanted to do this sometimes...

Maranda
Maranda

Let me be clear - I think this is hilarious. I like funny things. I also think it's kind of childish. Ever try to tell a child to do something and they put their fingers in their ears and say "lalalalala" - that's what this reminds me of. I don't think I watch any CBS programming (not in their demo, I guess)  and while they are right that "glass houses shouldn't throw stones", it doesn't paint the network in a positive light for me. 

 

Besides - it's "reality" TV. Most of these shows are all hybrids of another. (Totally unscripted, of course) ABC and CBS should do celebrity boxing with their PR teams. Now that - I would tune in to watch. 

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Did you see his avatar? He's a very funny boy.

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

As you can tell by the graph, I have now voted. Represent.

TonyBennett
TonyBennett

I only watch CBS during football and Thursday nights at 9 for Person of Interest because, largely, I perceived them to be the "old person network." But this is so money that it completely changed my opinion in 2 minutes. Now ABC needs to re-raise, and hire Charlie Sheen to star in 2½ warlocks!

rjfrasca
rjfrasca

OMG Awesome. I love this. Go CBS.

Latest blog post: Resume

Rey_Carr
Rey_Carr

CBS continues to demonstrate the ultimate in stupidity and triviality in their legal suit against ABC and now their attempt at being funny press release. If they really wanted to be funny they should have issued a statement about what they plan to sue the other Networks for.

jonmikelbailey
jonmikelbailey

In one way it reminds me of the passive aggressive responses I used to get from old girlfriends about certain actions of mine. However, the fact that they had the stones (pun intended) to do this is commendable and I now have a new respect for CBS!

KevinVandever
KevinVandever

 I LOVE this (though not enough to marry it, Gini). It's brilliant! Not only is it a very clever slam at ABC, but CBS could almost certainly create a show called Dancing on the Stars, with their proposed premise, and it will be a smash hit, ABC will sue, ABC will lose, they can write a clever PR release in return, you can write a blog post about it and we'll here this time next year. Talk about WINNING!

NEMultimedia
NEMultimedia

@lauraclick @ginidietrich I love CBS's response! Only because it makes the point with such great humor. Laughing!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@AmandaOleson You and I have the same sense of humor - the best kind.

TheJackB
TheJackB

CBS blew it when they didn't include "winning" in their release. That would have been the icing on the cake.

 

I am glad they loosened up a bit. They made their point in a clever way. Doesn't change anything, but they made it.

Latest blog post: Do You Like Livefyre?

JohnnaV
JohnnaV

@KaitCox @CBS @ginidietrich I love it! I think we've all had those days were we dream up the press releases we'd actually like to write :)

TimRelates
TimRelates

@KaitCox Funny in a tongue-in-cheek sorta way. Something marking it as satire should have been included at the end.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

IF you had real cajones, you would have said "huevos." LOL!!!!

 

This is truly ducking awesome. I have absolutely no idea how this made it through the bureaucratic approval process, but it's definitely a bit of everyone's professional dream come true. It accomplished very little, I'm sure, other than to give the team a good laugh and a great sense of satisfaction. 

MarkCRobins
MarkCRobins

Farking awesome, bout time these ninnies got a sense of humour.

MichaelBall1
MichaelBall1

Sad. This would have been brilliant if Big Brother was an original idea to start out with. For a network to call out another network for gleaning ideas from them is utterly ridiculous. It happens every season.

Someone needs to instal a mirror in their glass house.

DebraCaplick
DebraCaplick

Amazing the number of people who don't recognize satire when they see it - somewhere Jonathan Swift is in mourning. But does satire belong in a press release? That is the question (with a nod to Mr. S).

JulieLech
JulieLech

@acraKA I am going to visit 'the mitten' state this weekend! I will think of you ;)

lizreusswig
lizreusswig

First off, I agree that this release is really funny, clever & most importantly - EFFECTIVE!  Look at all the buzz.  Secondly, given the amount of "reality" junk on TV these days, I'd like to see CBS pull their PR writers in to write a sitcom - They could call it "Honest"!!  ;)

Mr.D
Mr.D

I think it is brilliantly funny, though it cannot be a regular occurrence. It is a one and done deal.

 

What really I wonder is for whom do you think the press release was written and for what point? It isn't for news coverage or mass appeal - unless maybe Joel McHale (http://www.thesouptv.com/)

 

Was it just to jab and embarrass the executives, producers and others at ABC? Do you think that is effective? Maybe some behind the scenes politics to which we are not privy?

 

I don't know the answer, so I leave it to the PR pros here. For a candidate, I would only agree to a release like this once in a great while to make a point, or else you start to sound too snarky.

Trackbacks

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