Fox’s ‘Idol’ Promotional Strategy: Pants On The Ground, All Over The Place

Larry Platt (FOX)

Larry Platt (FOX)

Viewers who tuned in to this weekend’s slate of NFL playoff games probably saw at least one ‘American Idol‘ ad featuring “Pants On The Ground,” the anti-baggy-trousers manifesto by civil-rights activist “General” Larry Platt. Even though he likely won’t be around to re-audition, Platt has apparently become the focus of Fox’s ad campaign for Tuesday night’s Chicago audition episode, with a commercial advising viewers not to miss “the next big thing” and using Simon Cowell’s prediction that the song would be a hit. (I saw the ads during both Fox NFL telecasts this weekend and the season premiere of ‘24‘; there was also a commercial featuring Tuesday’s guest judge Shania Twain, but I saw the “Pants” spot far more often.)

The “Pants On The Ground” synergy extended all the way to the Minnesota Vikings’ locker room after Sunday afternoon’s NFC Divisional playoff game, in which the Vikings trounced the Dallas Cowboys 34-3. After the game — which, it may not surprise you to learn, was televised by Fox — victorious Vikings quarterback Brett Favre led his teammates in a rousing (if brief) rendition of “Pants.” Watch the clip and tell me if you don’t think that Brett was, ahem, “encouraged” by Fox’s powers that be to give their signature show some shine.

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Jimmy Fallon also got into the act, covering the track in his Neil Young persona during Thursday night’s telecast of ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon‘:

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Meanwhile, this ‘Idol’ watcher is wondering if the producers’ pre-season promise that they would “focus on the contestants more” really meant that potentially viral silliness like “Pants” would get the spotlight at the expense of possible winners. Consider this: The domain was registered all the way back in November, and one intrepid Internet watcher noted that the person who snagged that Web site has the same name as one of the supervising producers of Wednesday’s ‘Idol’ episode. The site doesn’t have any content yet — and who knows, perhaps there are just two Californians named Patrick Lynn who like to think about baggy jeans — but I think the likelihood of Platt being back for the show’s finale in May just went from “probable” to “definite, and possibly with some sort of viral-video competition attached.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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