Taking what we normally see on Fridays in support of the larger action films opening in cinemas, the basic cabler – A&E – brought the explosiveness to premiere day of the newest season of STORAGE WARS.  Being one of the more popular basic cable reality shows on the air and the gist of the actual show, I guess we could have expected something so over the top for the new season. It remains to be seen what kind of effect the big campaign comprising portal page takeovers and second-screen experiences will do for the show, but the mere fact that they went so big for this one shows that you don’t have to be one of the majors to blow out a big campaign.

I’ve watched the show numerous times – its almost like a 21st century rendition of Let’s Make A Deal without the silly costumes (per se.) Half the fun is seeing what the bounty in the storage containers are really worht.  The other part is seeing the relationship between competing bidders and the no-names around them.  As such, it was interesting to see the creative put them in overblown situations.  You get the feeling that they over-react sometimes for the camera (as this is reality TV) so it could backfire to have them effectively laugh at themselves in the promotion of the show. We won’t know until we see the new episodes, but I’m concerned the people are going to make it any more uncomfortable to watch. But back to the explosiveness…

The media execution I saw on MSN started with an image of a monkey with a detonator button and the call to action to  Explode the page:

And upon clicking, there’s a jumpy transition to a page overlay and the explosion and season promo that plays on the Blockbuster theme – only changing Blockbuster to Lockbuster (Get it?  If you don’t.  Watch the show.)

Again, there is a concern about having the “characters” be self-aware in promo materials.  I realize that its a reality TV show, but is this the tipping of the hat that they now know what fans expect of them, so they better deliver at all costs? With that being said, I’m glad that they are doing a big campaign like this.  Just using me as a focus group – I had no idea that a new season was beginning.  I don’t watch A&E other than my occassional viewings of this show.  Therfore, the network couldn’t have expected they could just run on-air promos to drive viewers to tonight’s premiere.

A&E is also going beyond that with their Fan Challenge App.  The App will allow viewers to play along with the action on-screen.  It’s powered by TVPLUS, though its unclear if it is immediately available on both the computer and mobile phones or if the iOS and Android versions will not work until the future.  It also is not clear whether the experience will come up if the user accesses it directly through the TVPLUS app.

It’s great that they are really pushing this program and the inherent opportunities for viewers to play along. The big questions are whether fans will become more involved, whether the personalities will get too big for their breeches and become more annoying than they might already be, or if there will be a mixture of both.

The show moved its way up to the second-highest rated show on A&E last season and they are seizing the opportunity to push it up even higher.  The marketing team seems to be doing their job.  Can the programming team and the content delivered match up to really blow out the series or just blow it up? Or, will we just be wondering what is up with Barry’s monkey?