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October 9, 2015

CBS's odd viral promotion for The Ex List - AUDIO

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 11th 2008 1:40PM
Ex List promotionLast night, I was in New York's East Village attending a panel discussion that was being given at the Cooper Union. As I was walking around killing time before the seminar, I came across the sign on the right, taped to a light pole alongside various bumper stickers and other posted offers. It made me do a double-take, because it yells "HAVE YOU DATED THIS WOMAN?" in all caps. The picture is of a pretty woman who looks like someone just about anyone in New York could have dated at one time or another.

Was she in trouble? Was someone waging a campaign to trash this poor young woman? All those questions filled my head until I saw the phone number below, typed repeatedly in those all-to-convenient tear-away strips: 1-877-7-BELLA1.

Bella. That name sounded familiar. That's when it hit me: It was Elizabeth Reaser's character from CBS' new sitcom The Ex List.

Obviously, this was an oddball attempt by CBS to get people to call the number and find out about the show. Fascinated by the weird attempt at a "cool" viral campaign, I whipped out my cell phone and took a bunch of pictures of the sign before going into my seminar. When I called the number this morning, I got the following message:

Ex List Promo (0:26)

Weird, huh? Reaser still talks to you as if she's just a normal girl who's looking for her soulmate because a psychic told her that one of her exes is "The One." Then it mentions the date and time of the show's premiere: "October 3, 9:00 on CBS." But it doesn't mention the show's name. In fact, there's a clunky edit where you'd expect the name of the show to be.

I'm not sure what CBS is going for here. By mentioning the network, they're letting people know that they're promoting a show, but by not giving the name of the show, they're trying to continue the charade that this Bella woman actually exists. Is this really going to get people curious to tune in on October 3? My guess is no. And, anyone who's been watching CBS this summer has seen the promos for The Ex List a number of times, so they've likely already decided whether they're interested in the show or not.

I will say this, though; the sign does draw a person's attention. But unless they make the connection I did, they'll likely take quick note of it and forget about it before they've even finished crossing the street. Nice job, CBS!

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I watched part of the Ex List last night before changing the channel. It was horrible!! How incredibly tacky is lifting up your dress to show your shaved private parts and then screaming at your boyfriend that he should want you even if you painted it blue and put shingles on it. This is a show about 2 sluts who have slept with everyone and there is nothing funny about it. I hope it gets axed ASAP.

October 04 2008 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The ad got you to write this blog post, which meant extra free promotion on TV Squad for "The Ex List".

September 11 2008 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Paul's comment
Joel Keller

Very true, if a somewhat cynical view of it. But I'm sure they didn't put these flyers up in the hope that someone from the media was going to see one and write about it. That seems like it leaves too much up to chance.

September 11 2008 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Pepto Pimp

I saw this pilot last week, and I have to say it was much better than I expected. It's pretty much an hour long HIMYM with a gender swap, but it's done very well. Very watchable. When I saw these flyers up around town this morning, I got a little chuckle.

September 11 2008 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Thanks, Mitch. Fixed it. Next time you see something like this, please use our "Corrections" link above to report it.

September 11 2008 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Check your spelling on "Reaser."

September 11 2008 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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