Unexpected Mastery

First, if you have not already, watch this video of Paul Potts on Britain’s Got Talent:

The great thing about this video is the unexpectedness of mastery. Simon Cowell (one of the judges) put it this way:

“So you work at Carphone Warehouse and you did that? I wasn’t expecting that.”

However, I think the unexpectedness of an unassuming person producing this kind of mastery is only a part of the real unexpectedness (maybe even a very small part). I know many unassuming people that produce extraordinary results.

I think the real unexpectedness is where this kind of mastery was performed. You see, a great wine at a five star restaurant is expected, almost demanded. A great wine at McDonalds seems jarringly out of place. Why is that? After all, the greatness of the wine did not change. However, our expectation of where to find great wine certainly was violated.

The same applies to Paul. The mastery of Paul Potts does not change whether he performs on Britain’s Got Talent or the Royal Opera House in London. But just as we do not look for mastery when we watch an episode of Seinfeld, we don’t expect to find mastery on Britain’s Got Talent or any other TV show designed for entertainment. What Simon Cowell should of said was:

“You can do that and you came to our show?”

Unexpectedness gets our attention and mastery keeps our attention. There is a lot that we can learn from Paul Potts.

The Apprentice L.A. Critique

I am a big Apprentice fan. As a marketer, I love to see the contestant’s creativity and problem solving abilities on the business tasks that “The Donald” tries to throw their way.

From the season premiere, it looks like this should be another great year. The show would be even better it remembers two things:

  1. Remind the contestant that the phrase “at the end of the day” is overused (I think I counted it used about 5 times). But then again if they take out the phrase, it may only be a half a hour show. icon_wink.gif
  2. Make the tasks more fitting for L.A. The first task was to sell car washes. This was an okay task, but I think it missed the point of being in L.A. – movies, glamour, and celebrities.

“At the end of the day”, I would give it 4 out of 5 überstars!

Choose Your Own Adventure TV?

questionmark.jpgDo you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books growing up? The books where you are given choices and the plot unfolds according to direction you take? For example,

If you decide to eat the magic pill, turn to page 25
If you decide not to eat the magic pill, turn to page 16

How would it be if we applied this same concept to a TV series? It would be a blend of the voting capabilities of American Idol, the character control of Second Life, and the “nothingness” of Seinfeld. I could see this as something that could really be an engrossing, innovative concept or a really big flop.

I think the format could work if:

  1. It took advantage of the many built-in social media opportunities (voting, content creation, discussion, etc.)
  2. The series was very engaging
  3. The timeframe from vote to action was minimized

Could this work? What do you think?