What fresh tedium is this? The marketing of network television shows has apparently hit a new low. Once upon a time, exciting trailers would herald the arrival of new television episodes just a few weeks in advance of their broadcast – whetting the appetite of the audience just enough to get them tuning in. Gradually, these trailers were released earlier and earlier, giving more opportunity to repeat the trailer and release different variations of it. These began to be preceded by TV spots – brief snippets, often focussing on a specific character or storyline. Now, however, these advertising campaigns have surpassed themselves by releasing ‘teaser’ trailers before footage has even been shot. Following a recent one for The Flash, we now have one for the fourth season of Arrow.
Reaching a new level of ridiculousness, the ‘teaser’ features Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim, who expresses his gratitude to viewers of season three and reassures us that all of our questions will be answered in season four. Curious to know how Arrow and his friends will continue their heroics now he has retired his bow and arrow? Tune in next season, says Guggenheim.
This is a strange new strategy, to say the least. Firstly, not only are we being shown nothing new – we’re also being told nothing new. Isn’t it fairly obvious that season four will address the loose ends of season three? This is episodic television, after all. Secondly, doesn’t this bizarre advertising campaign seem a little desperate? With both The Flash and Arrow coming from the Greg Berlanti stable – recently hailed a ‘super-producer’ by Variety, now that he has his sixth concurrent TV show heading to series – this feels like a trend specific to those DC shows. The overall effect is to make it seem that these executive producers are concerned about maintaining viewership into their upcoming seasons that are due later in the year. Why else would we need a video message telling us how hard they’re working?