People who have tired of the reality TV format are in for a testing
summer with the media set to be dominated by Survivor and Big Brother
The first episode of Survivor was screened on ITV last Monday. Yet a
campaign hyping the show had already been very active in the media for
the previous two weeks.
Even before a second of the show had been aired, it was difficult to
escape the 16 candidates battling to escape eviction from an island off
Borneo to claim a pounds 1m prize.
Freud Communications is running the Survivor PR campaign. TV team
assistant Rob Lowe says the volume of coverage before the show has been
helped by taking journalists out to the island where the series was
filmed to experience the same harsh conditions 'enjoyed' by the
The media is not allowed to talk to any of the contestants who endured
the challenge until the show in which they are evicted has been
Even then, media access is tightly controlled by Freud, but they will be
'hyped up as much as possible,' said Lowe.
The PR preparations for Big Brother 2, meanwhile, have been notably low
The media has made much of the 'ratings war' between the two shows, with
Big Brother 2 starting this weekend. Big Brother's PR agency, Henry's
House, is taking the 'exact opposite' tack to Freud according to
managing director Julian Henry: 'Because no-one is familiar with the
brand, they have been saying Survivor is going to take on Big Brother.
The show is pre-recorded so they can leak information, which we can't
Henry says the team will continue to hold back on information about the
contestants rather than splash it, even after the contestants enter the
Big Brother house.
'There are things we know but that we will allow to come out during the
show rather than announcing them. And because ours is live drama, it has
the potential to be quite dry, so we don't want to build people up and
then disappoint them,' he says.
Interactive technology is again a key part of the BB package. The
infamous webcams on the website will this year be complemented by the
show running for up to 21 hours a day on digital station E4, and text
messaging will be used to keep fans up-to-date.
Survivor may look like it's ahead of the publicity game at this stage,
but the winner of the summer's reality-vision ratings battle is far from