The good people over at the Geekiary are running a little poll right now on favorite summer shows. In The Flesh is in the lead, as it deserves to be, but the Geekiary writers have noticed that the Teen Wolf fandom is conspicuously absent.
Why might this be? At first, I thought that Teen Wolf PR might just be inept, but as the last couple of seasons have progressed, I’ve changed my mind. It looks like the fandom is the victim of what professionals sometimes call anti-marketing, defined as a set of techniques used to get rid of undesirable customers. Usually, it’s only deployed against customers who are either a) very unprofitable or b) a huge hassle to deal with, and usually only used against a very small number of customers. Occasionally, media-heavy companies will decide to use it to reshape their customer profile, when it isn’t enough add new, desirable customers, you have to get rid of the old ones.
It’s a very risky move. Abercrombie and Fitch is notorious for trying to anti-market to overweight teenagers, “unattractive or uncool” job applicants, and older customers. The strategy blew up in their face a few years ago, and I’m not sure whether their profitability has recovered yet. If you get caught doing this, your brand becomes toxic, and the people who could have saved you by buying your product no longer want to have anything to do with you, while not enough of the new profiled customers now buy from you.
If someone wanted to try to shift the core s1&2 Teen Wolf viewing audience from women over 25 and gay males (aka Team Sterek) to better fit with MTV’s target demographic of women under 25 and (second choice) straight men under 25, how would you do it? Lose the gay subtext and slashiness (anti Sterek, missing Danny, check). Dump the warrior woman (kill off Allison, check). Replace with new stock characters in new core demographic (Malia, Liam, check). Annoy, belittle and insult the undesirable segment (check).
In short, I think they’re not ignoring you at all. I think all of this awfulness has been carefully laid out. What they didn’t plan for is the slide in ratings that this strategy has produced. This show is never going to pick up new viewers fast enough to replace the departing ones.
Tell me I’m wrong.