Why you should ignore trainwreck wedding reality shows

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wedding reality shows

Not a week goes by that I don't get an email from a reader who's freaking out about some new awful wedding reality show. Sometimes I get whole clusters of outraged emails, imploring me “Please write about this! OMG, it makes me so angry!” Then there are the posts on the Offbeat Bride Tribe, with members confessing that they hate these shows, but they watch them, but they get so angry!, but they can't stop watching, etc.

So, what do I think of think of these shows? My answer: I don't. I know how media publicity works, so I ignore all wedding reality shows, and you should too. Here's why…

To understand these shows, you need to understand the concept of trainwreck media, which is best summed with this line recently used to advertise a new daytime reality show: “Love them or hate them, you WILL be talking about them.” That's what television producers count on, because they make their living selling advertising. They don't care if people watch because they love the show or hate the show — all that matters is the eye-balls. It's the same reason some bloggers write contrarian posts that are just BEGGING to be argued with: when you go argue, you're providing eyeballs. And eyeballs sell ads.

I might sound cynical, but I used to work in PR so I know how this stuff works. Yes, positive coverage is always the ideal for any publicity campaign, but in the world of public relations, coverage is coverage. The ultimate goal is people talking, and even if you're saying “OH MY GOD, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT!?” you're essentially playing directly into the hands of the publicists and producers who make this garbage. In fact, for all I know, the emails I receive from outraged readers may be sent by publicists fishing for coverage.

So no, I don't write about wedding reality shows. I'd rather devote my energy to making an awesome alternative to the competitive, conventional, high-end wedding industry.

If you really hate those shows, the best thing you can do is stop talking about them. Don't watch them and don't spread the word about them. If someone mentions a trashy wedding reality show to you, just say “Meh, whatever: that's why I read [fill in the name of your favorite wedding blog, which may or may not be Offbeat Bride.]” Don't be a trainwreck media stooge; don't do publicists' work for them. Rather than gawk at a trainwreck, go make something awesome.

Because with media, word-of-mouth is power. And when you stop giving these trainwrecks your energy, you've got more energy to devote to spreading the word about shit you DO like.

Comments on Why you should ignore trainwreck wedding reality shows

  1. I used to watch those shows when I was a teenager (mostly because nothing else of any real interest was on on Sundays), and at one point I even had TJ’s brothers watching it as well. Then I got an apartment, decided to forgo getting cable, and forgot that they even existed.

    Best way to avoid them if you ask me. 🙂

    • I also am sans-cable. Since 2003. I may be out of the loop on some things, but at least my week isn’t dictated by getting home in time to catch ___________ .

      Also, thanks for the post. Keep us away from the maddness! 🙂

  2. Case in point: I discovered OBB while googling ‘tacky wedding’. Assholes bitching about other peoples weddings linked to stuff here and while it was negative publicity it got Ariel another reader and her advertisers another pair of eyeballs. (I’ve even clicked some ads which is unusual for me.)

    Completely the other end of the scale but I’d also have never heard of…a certain reality TV show…if it wasn’t for people bitching about it. All the comments I read got me curious enough to watch an episode online, which ironically put me off by being dull.

  3. I love those stupid wedding shows…but I have also realized since I am planning my own wedding that they have given me a free pass when it comes to being sane….

    Ex. I’m not AS bad, I didn’t spend AS much…etc etc…

    I never even considered of this until now…

    Thank you 🙂

  4. Right on! This is the whole reason I can’t stand watching “reality” TV in the first place. It’s all product placement and it feels like one endless advertisement. Bah! The very concept annoys me.

    Ignore them!

  5. Well said. Go make something awesome.

    And “trainwreck media.” I love this. I don’t do much in the trainwreck media vein, though I do always (cough, cough, cough) have a few blogs that I secretly read (cough, cough). But fair is fair. I may be someone else’s trainwreck. And I’m FINE with that, as long as they don’t leave mean comments.

  6. Yes! Thank you! This is why I like OBB…because you celebrate the great stuff, and ditch the rest!

  7. Heather, my fiance got me to watching a few episodes of Bridezilla, and he got to see how sane I am in comparison (especially since I’ve been especially interested in centerpieces.)

    • Hah hah my future father in law LOVES bridezilla and he keeps telling Mike how sane I am because of this show.

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