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What recession? Fox / FX press kits are as elaborate as ever

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 8th 2009 3:00PM
House Press kitAs most people who follow our Press Kits Unwrapped series know, one of the most interesting perks to what we do is the free stuff the networks send us, usually along with their preview screeners. However, in the last year, the number of elaborate press kits have dwindled. Networks are starting to realize that sending a DVD in a sleeve is much cheaper than sending one with a water bottle or a t-shirt, and the show will get just as much coverage. Heck, ABC doesn't even send the DVDs anymore; they ask us to view screeners on their ABC Medianet website, which sometimes work and sometimes don't.

But FOX and its cable sibling FX are still plugging away, sending expensive-looking press kits to promote their shows. While FX is content with sending elaborately-packaged folders with DVDs and a glossy press guide, their broadcast cousins are still sending tchotchke-laden packages, like the one I got for the new season of House. An explanation, and more pics, after the jump.House Press KitThe press kits are coming in fast and furious from FOX: a Dollhouse t-shirt, a jersey and small football for Brothers, a water bottle for So You Think You Can Dance. But nothing has beaten the House kits for attention to detail. First was the Snakes on a Cane t-shirt, sent earlier this year without any other indication as to what it was. Now, the DVD of the season premiere comes with a fake pharmacy bag, complete with receipt stapled on the front.

House Press KitInside the bag, there's the DVD, but also a large pill bottle that doubles as a pencil holder. All the pencils inside the pill bottle say "Dr. Gregory House" on them.

House Press Kit

But, as you can see by the pic on theright, the detail doesn't end there. The "Princeton Plainsboro Pharmacy," whose logo looks awfully familiar, also printed out a personalized label for the bottle itself, making sure to put in the disclaimer of "This is not a real prescription."

While I like getting knickknacks like this, it makes me wonder how much money the good folks at FOX are spending to send out these packages. Materials, printing, shipping... there must be dozens of us on their mailing list, and every little bit adds up. It's not like we wouldn't have reviewed House if they just sent the DVD; after all, it's the show that's the attraction, not the gift. And, since House is pretty much FOX's top scripted show, you'd think they wouldn't need to gild the lily like this.

Wouldn't the money FOX spends to send us swag be better spent on, oh, I don't know... developing better programming? Maybe they could have used the press kit money to have another go on those first couple of episodes of Brothers, for instance (they're both beyond awful).

What do you folks think? Let me know in the comments.

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do you not like quirky "gifts'? Yeah they could probably funnel the money into something no one needs , like a sequel show to the simpsons, but why are you looking a gift horse in the mouth? if you don't like the silly (and inventive) stuff they toss at you, give it to the kids or make it one of the weekly giveaways tvsquad is popular for. I imagine collectors will enjoy having something so rare , and the price of it will escalate over time if left in pristine condition.

September 09 2009 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fox has the best press kits...I still use the digital voice recorder they sent out for Fringe last year. And remember the cheesy excavation tools for Bones? Swell marketing.

September 08 2009 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia R.

I look forward every year to what Fox sends for House. And this year it's no different. Very cool Joel... very cool.

September 08 2009 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ummmm...isn't it ironic that you've posted about all these press kits...I wonder WHY they would send them...


Clearly they send them because they work! They paid for extra advertising and got it...

September 08 2009 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best kit I ever got was for the launch of DEEP SPACE 9. a 13" TV/VCR built into a piece of plastic that made it look like Cardassian technology. A VHS tape that introduced the cast of characters via a special message from Starfleet Command was also included.

I was told they wanted to do laptops, but had to resort to the TV for budget reasons.

September 08 2009 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul William Tenny

I hate to say it but this one SyFy press kit for Stargate Universe puts everything else to shame. They sent out a hardcover book with a Stargate on the front that *lights up*. Inside are high-quality semi-gloss photos and bios of the cast, and bios for the producers.


Lots of pictures of it.

September 08 2009 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe they could have spent the money on keeping Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles around for another season to let it gain a better following. But then again, the swag got you to write a post about House and people are reading it so maybe it was money well spent after all.

September 08 2009 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chrissthomas's comment

Hmmm... season three of the brilliant Sarah Connor or Brothers with two abysmal episodes so far. That really is an unbelievably tough choice.

I predict Brothers makes it two weeks before it gets canned. Thanks a lot Fox for canceling one of the most creative and inspiring shows for a couple weeks of trash.

September 09 2009 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Joel, what does it say on the bottle under "warnings?" I can't quite read it beyond "may cause cynicism" and a few other things.

September 08 2009 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Namaste's comment
George McBain

I see:

May cause cynicism, irritability, ???, disparagement, lying, ??? (maybe bullshitting), uncontrollable urge to diagnose.

September 08 2009 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Here's the entire label:

Princeton Plainsboro / Pharmacy
Princeton, NJ
This is not a real prescription
Dr. Gregory House


MON 9/21 8/7c

QTY: 22 All-New Episodes

WARNING: May cause cynicism, irritability, snarkiness, offensiveness, disparagement, bullying and uncontrollable urge to diagnose.

RX# 9-21-2009

September 08 2009 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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