Wednesday, December 9

RIP, The "Soap Opera"


CBS announced this week that they are taking "As The World Turns" off the air, the longest running soap opera ever. Daytime or otherwise. 54 incredible years. "Like sand through an hour glass...."

This just after cancelling my teenage-years favorite, "The Guiding Light". I can remember distinctly running from the school bus everyday to catch "The Guiding Light", and getting caught up in all the drama. Way before we could post on social media sites, I would then chat on the phone with my friends at night about the show (from a landline with a long cord attached located in the kitchen). It was a sensation, long before the prime time soaps of today.

Is this the beginning of the end of an era? Will daytime "soaps" be dead? There are only two left on CBS, "The Young and the Restless", and "The Bold and the Beautiful". Back in the day, they were the new comers.

Could be. There are so many options now for entertainment during the day, that I'm afraid the soap opera may not be so culturally relevant anymore. Not sure.

But I do know it's important to recognize the "soaps" for what they did for marketing. Originally created by CPG giant P&G, who actually created a company called Procter & Gamble Productions to produce the shows. They were created as advertising vehicles to reach housewives who were home taking care of the kids. The shows were sprinkled with television advertising from all the P&G brands, principally Ivory Soap ... hence the "Soap Opera". A little Ivory Soap and a whole lot of drama.

I don't recall many product placements back then, but the advertising was enough to make an impression and P&G brands ruled the day. An innovative attempt to control the medium for a brand and it worked for decades. Not to mention the entertainment value for consumers. Modern day equivalent of "value beyond just price". Not bad.

What's your experience? Jim

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