Babes, bars & sunburnt Brits*

Have you joined a choir, applied to be a midwife or booked a flight to Benidorm recently? Or are you perhaps in a choir of midwives on a tour of the Costa Blanca? If so, you may be experiencing the benefits of watching TV.

In recent weeks there have been several reports of the effects TV programmes can have on our behaviour. From Today on Radio 4 I heard there is a ‘Glee effect’ going on that has provoked a recent increase in applications to join choirs. This joins reports that the names Quinn and Finn have increased in popularity for babies in the US (along with Betty, thanks to Mad Men).

And then I read this piece in The Guardian in which the Royal College of Midwifery claimed there has been a sharp increase in enquiries from people wanting to train in midwifery since One Born Every Minute hit our screens (given the graphic pain throughout the programme, I’m sure the desire to give birth has seen an equivalent decrease).

And then there was the revelation by travelsupermarket.com claiming that searches for Benidorm package holiday deals jump by 159% when the programme Benidorm is on.  

We already know about TV’s effects on shopping and web activity, especially search. But TV is a vital source of inspiration in our lives, with more broad and deep effects than just in retail and online, inspiring us to change what we do with our lives and leisure.

Government departments, through the COI, have recognized TV’s ability to change behaviour by being some of the most dedicated funders of TV programming, and other not-for-profit organizations have also explored what it can do for them.  What is Red Nose Night after all if not a very expansive example of branded Comic Relief programming?

But commercial brands should think harder about funding programmes, even without a product or logo in sight. If you are the market leader and have, say, more than half the market it’s worth thinking about investing in content for its generic market stimulation. I recently heard a very large paint brand bemoaning that fewer people were tarting up their homes since the demise of Changing Rooms and its ilk.  The solution is just waiting for them.

* Apologies if this title misled you into reading.  

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