EDITORIAL: TiVo's Super Bowl coup offers an example of maximizing capabilities that PR should follow

TiVo did almost as well at the Super Bowl as the New England Patriots, scoring an unexpected touchdown that trumped the very incident that highlighted the advantages of its technology to a bemused audience. (See the p. 3 story if you're unclear about what I am referring to). Even those of us without it were left saying, "I knew I should have gotten TiVo."

TiVo did almost as well at the Super Bowl as the New England Patriots, scoring an unexpected touchdown that trumped the very incident that highlighted the advantages of its technology to a bemused audience. (See the p. 3 story if you're unclear about what I am referring to). Even those of us without it were left saying, "I knew I should have gotten TiVo."

Suddenly, what seemed merely a crass exercise in "shock" publicity strategy became a wondrous coup for TiVo, as the "wardrobe malfunction" became the biggest "rewind" moment for the system in the three years that audience reactions have been measured. The incident was reviewed three times more than any other moment during the game. Had I been the brains behind any of the ad campaigns, I'd be pretty depressed at the latter statistic. Without minimizing the obvious interest that the Super Bowl-watching public will have in examining a split second of unfettered flesh, advertisers might have legitimately anticipated that their better efforts would yield multiple viewings. If we are to believe what advertising pundits tell us, TiVo represents the biggest threat to the ad industry since the VCR (and we all know what happened to that theory). But perhaps the advertising community has not thoroughly examined the potential benefits of TiVo, as it has the challenges it creates. It is surprising to me that none of the campaigns capitalized on the technology, opting instead to fight against it with ads that took no more than one viewing to understand or appreciate, or that no one really cared to ever see again anyway. That's even more startling when you realize TiVo has been publicizing Super Bowl viewership data for three years. What lesson does this offer PR professionals? Beyond TiVo's nimble PR response to the gift from bad-taste heaven, it is a reminder to consider the best way to maximize the delivery of information, and not just the campaign strategy. The PR industry has a range of services that help it deliver. But it is not clear that organizations spend much time really thinking about using them in the best possible way, or seeking advice from the experts about how to do so. Take one basic and essential PR tool - the video news release. While the technology of delivery has advanced enormously, content strategy often remains stuck in a time warp. Understanding the best ways to use this tool will help translate this information to news broadcasts, rather than trash cans. PRWeek Awards are a cause to celebrate As PRWeek's editorial team completes another Book of the Night, which will be given out at the end of the PRWeek Awards on March 4 and will include detailed descriptions of all the winning campaigns, organizations, and individuals, anticipation of the event itself continues to build. The tough part is keeping quiet, as winners aren't revealed until that night. But the best part is anticipating the one opportunity all year when the entire PRWeek editorial department is able to meet and reacquaint itself with contacts from across the US. Now that things seem to be improving in the market (knock wood), we're particularly looking forward to a party. To reserve your place at the awards, e-mail awards@prweek.com.

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