The Apprentice – What Online Marketeers can learn from the BBC

So you think this series of The Apprentice is all about sausages, beach towels and Slouch-Gate?  But the television show goes far beyond the 1-hour-a-week of programming.

Being an electronics entrepreneur, it shouldn’t really be surprising that Alan Sugar’s Apprentice is well supported by social media.  Although Lord Sugar has no hand in the production, the BBC has clearly worked hard to embrace this technology to really champion the  consumption of the reality TV show.  Not only does The Apprentice have an official Twitter feed (@bbcapprentice), you can also Tweet Baron Sugar of Clapton himself via @Lord_Sugar.

But its not just Twitter and Facebook pages that have made the campaign surrounding the show so successful – the BBC uses the The Apprentice name to encourage cross-viewing.   The Apprentice campaign is constructed like a well-built online SEO and SM campaign – different BBC programmes are used like microsites to boost brand engagement; at the end of the BBC1 show viewers are invited to switch over to watch The Apprentice: You’re Fired, and following that, viewers are often told that they can see further interviews with the failed applicants on BBC Breakfast the following morning.

In this way fans are guided through The Apprentice experience, but are subsequently encouraged to engage with distinctly separate brands all linked to the BBC core.

The experience viewers have becomes much more immersive, interactive, and engaging than simply being shown a stand alone programme – just like a customer’s experience on an online microsite.

By using this microsite structure of television scheduling the BBC can work to attract consumers with a strong brand affinity.  Although these programmes will have the bonus affect of potentially attracting new viewers, they also will deepen relationships and loyalty with current Apprentice fans.

All aspects of the BBC campaign are integrated and work together to get results – even if the contestants do not…



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