When I was earning my journalism degree, CBS was considered the grandparents' network. Well into my professional career, CBS was still seen as struggling to shake off that reputation... their first sign of success was a little reality show called Survivor. Eight years later, CBS may be poised to become more relevant, to more people, than its Viacom sister network MTV.

This post started as a video I wanted to share (below), a video attributed to CBS. Apparently there's a division of CBS called EyeLab. The group's purpose is nebulous, according to their "about" blurb. In fact, there's nothing about what I'm about to share with you here, though there has been a smattering of press coverage for the past year or so. Regardless of the vague self-description, a few of their promotional videos are becoming successful in the much coveted "viral" way.

It all started with this drawn-out "supercut" of Caruso's cornball one-liners that open every episode of CSI Miami. It wasn't created by CBS, but it wasn't removed for copyright infringement, either. In fact, the creator is cited by CBS as the inspiration for EyeLab.

Fast-forward about a year and there's this one, an "official" EyeLab production, which promotes the DVD set of the remastered original Star Trek television series: DJ Spock. That's because CBS Home Entertainment is using its big sister television network to help move more units. We have CBS Digital to thank for the enhanced digital effects in the remastered series, too.

It'll be interesting to see if a group within a big conglomerate like CBS will be able to sustain the scrappy and nimble approach of folks like stewmurray47. I doubt stewmurray47 had a bottom line to worry about, committees to deal with, advertisers to keep happy, or investors and stockholders to appease. That said, it's kinda cool that CBS started a division that gets to jam the company culture... but I'm sure the fun little videos are just a small part of their job.

It'll also be interesting to see if this mash-up approach to promotion carries into CBS's forthcoming record label, which we should hear from early next year.


Chris B. said...

It's also interesting that CBS is still deeply embedded in radio, one of the first to snatch up a forward-thinking music venue online (last.fm), and are seemingly willing to ditch the "old" way of doing things (fired Howard Stern, for instance). I still keep them at arm's length; they're still a giant corporation. But, the giant corp that adapts to the possibilities of new tech first will win in the not-too-distant future.

Also, this ad reminds me of the G4TV ad here. Still cracks me up.

PYLB said...

I forgot all about that G4TV promo video. Charlie Murhpy as the voice of Spock really ties it all together. Looks like it may have been the work of Shadow Machine and/or Stoopid Monkey (the folks behind Robot Chicken).

As far as CBS, I agree... these are interesting developments, but you have to keep an eye on them. Pun intended.

PYLB said...

This other G4TV promo is thematically even more like the DJ Spock clip. There's also this ain't got no wi-fi" promo. Oh, and this one, too.