Friday, March 9, 2007

What ABC and the Geico Cavemen can learn from a chili cook-off.

Variety reports that ABC has green-lit a half-hour comedy series pilot featuring Geico’s famed Cavemen. Yup, our favorite cro-magnon, sensitive, metro-sexuals are going primetime network.

But will it work?

What made them famous (or infamous) was the over-the-top juxtaposition of being both cavemen and sophisticated. Being proud yet misunderstood. It all makes for some funny bits. …..BITS. These little bits are set up and played out within 10 seconds. Last I checked, a half-hour show is longer (not by much thanks to those pesky commercials).

So, what can ABC learn from a chili cook-off?

Most winning chili cook-off contestants will tell you that, to win, the judges have to be impressed in one or two spoonfuls. So, they concoct recipes so intense that you can only enjoy a little….BIT. Not a bowlful.

My sense of this comedy pilot is that while people enjoy a spoonful of the Cavemen, they won’t settle down for a bowlful.

1 comment:

Edward said...

The judges in a chili cook-off have to be impressed by a couple of spoonfuls of chili. But if they are impressed, that doesn't necessarily mean that a whole bowl will be tiresome, as long as the flavors have depth and character. A spoonful can blow your tastebuds away without resorting to torture-levels of hot spices or other extreme measures.

What about the Geico Cavemen? Obviously they have impressed viewers enough to warrant an expanded ad campaign. The question is whether they have enough depth to develop into an entire series. This depends entirely upon the writing and acting. There have been other series (such as Third Rock from The Sun) which have depended upon a simple, preposterous juxtaposition (such as aliens trying to pass as ordinary humans) and used it to hilarious effect. There's no reason the Cavemen couldn't do the same with some imaginative writing and acting.

ABC is taking a risk with this. But getting people's attention and holding it always requires some risk-taking. Maybe that's "What B2B can learn from ABC".