Tinkering with the formula: Skins 2.0

Skins as it was, and as it should be...

Skins as it was, and as it should be...





At its core, a very human behaviour which can easily be exploited by astute marketing managers, and ad agencies alike.
That said, the stay at home moms of the 50’s who dutifully trotted out and bought what the good men of Madison told them to, are (sadly!), long gone. Perhaps not such a bad thing (if they ever really existed), but it does mean us ad-landers must constantly strive to keep at least one step ahead of the ever increasingly empowered consumers.

The adults are switched on enough, but the kids? They are growing up in a digital world from day one, almost leaving the womb clutching the latest app ridden i-phone. With TV schedules virtually consigned to the dustbin, it’s ‘whatever I want, wherever I want it, now, now, and now!’. Tough in a land where the networks have had it easy for so long…

But as media brands go, the UK’s channel 4 ‘gets’ the power of digital. It gets the youth audience. It gets the directors, writers, producers and actors it needs to generate engaging, charming, witty programming, that generally resonates with the youth audience. It gets making them available on every single platform yoof could wish for. A beacon of hope in an industry grappling with the opportunities (and threats) a digital future presents.

So with all that in mind, how do we explain series 3 of Skins? Well, I’m coming back to greed.

It’s akin to the board of any large car manufacturer that knows it’s giving the entire range an extensive overhaul in 2 years time (and launching a blistering new range of cars that will kill the competition). But it finds the current range tired, and they’ve two years of sales figures to meet in a toughening market until they kill the competition with that big re-launch…
So what do they do?

Why, they give a few of the top-selling models a minor cosmetic facelift in order to make them more attractive to consumers in the short term. Just to tide them over and help this year’s sales figures (and maybe help them with their bonus, although unlikely in 2009…)

They flog the brand (just a little), full of hope that the Holy Grail is just around the corner. Crossing their fingers that their most loyal customers will forgive them the interim model they bought just 18 months ago that now looks sadly tired in comparison to the stunning new car that turns Mr Jones next door just bought. The one that all the neighbours heads turn at…

But alas, the Skins ‘facelift’ disappoints on almost every level. A minor facelift its loyal fans could have lived with, but have we been left with? But it’s like VW / Skoda reverting to the unreliable cars of old…

Gone is the wit, the charm, the intelligence, the raw emotion, the feeling of being part of an exclusive club. A club where the window to the soul is on display for the viewer to feel, touch, to own…

Gone are our close group of young kid-ults finding their way in the world. And what are we left with?
Still a storming soundtrack, pretty much the only strain of consistency from Skins 1.0 (besides a couple of actors promoted from the sidelines).

Instead, its 90210’esque good looking characters (who find themselves just a little too preened for their own good). The witty banter, the real heart and soul of the last series appears to have been surgically removed, replaced with tits and arse gags. We see nobody with the potential to be ‘the next big thing’ a la Slumdog Millionaire. And I’ll sound old for saying it, but just a little too much in the way of gratuitous flesh shots.

Skins 1.0 will be turning in its grave. A real lesson in how NOT to reinvigorate the brand.

Rule number one (for all those that are still interested); don’t ever let greed get in the way of your core brand values. As soon as you do, cross your fingers that your loyal audience can forgive the tits and arse gags / slightly comfier leather seats when you roll out the next rebrand which is no doubt just around the corner…

Skins writers, please take note…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And can forgive the occasional arse gag…

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About igmorrison

Modern day marketing comms man. If you want to know more about me, visit: www.linkedin.com/in/igmorrison find me on twitter @igmorrison or just leave me a comment.

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