Greetings Whyville! As misleading as this title is, this will not be about the Whyville remake of "Jersey Shore". (Coming out in Select Theaters - Summer of '13) Nor is it some movie review. This is about business. Serious, necessary, incredibly boring business.
As we all know, Whyville's heyday seems long gone. No longer are there tens of thousands of new members signing up this month (even if the "Potential Sponsors" page says there is), or is it "cool" to go on Whyville. No longer is Whyville receiving dozens of awards for it's educational purposes, or are there 20 articles every week in the Times. (This article, which is of averageish quality will still be on the front page, instead of back in the "Hot Topics" section nobody looks at). Whyville has about 100 or so active members, give or take. Put simply, we need more people. There have been dozens of suggestions as to how to increase membership, from making sure everyone should tell there friends about Whyville, to making people pay to where advertising t-shirts for Whyville. While those are great, I have to say my favorite is the one that has never been done - a Whyville TV commercial. (Ahhh . . . so there is a point to this article.)
Now, when we think of commercials, we think of actors charging thousands of dollars to say 3 lines, and walk down a hallway, spending tens of thousands, even millions more to get a minute commercial. But, this isn't a Pepsi commercial for the Super Bowl. I'm talking about a 30-second spot on some local station during a news break. I've been doing some research to see how much it costs to produce a commercial, and run it.
When making a commercial, the first thing you have to do, well, is make it. Write the script, produce it, etc. That can run in the tens of thousands, or more, depending on the actors, the set, the staff, and a few other things. Well, I realized - we already have all of those things. Why not capture (I'm talking like a real TV Executive) Whyville in it's "natural habitat." A user-made commercial. Whyville could tell users "Hey, make a 30-second commercial where you talk about Whyville, and get people to want to join, including, say, 3 seconds of the Whyville logo, some games, our sponsors, and a little of your own Whyville charm. The producer(s) of the best commercial will when 1000 pearls, a Whytop, and a Dell Laptop. Not to mention that your work will be all over TV." I'm pretty sure most capable Whyvillians would be all over that. Whyville would have dozens of Whyville-made commercials. I know I would send in at least 5 all by myself. It would cost Whyville about 500 dollars (which is pretty cheap), and they would have an amazing commercial or two.
The possibilities for the commercial are endless. Some nice beat in the back, while a user chats to you. Maybe takes you for a ride in there scion, and cleans up the streets of Wilson City, putting out a fire or two on Raven Island. All in 30 seconds or less. I can picture it now. Ideas are floating all throughout my head, my creative juices are a'flowin. And I know, for most readers of this, they've got at least an idea or two going through there mind. That nice prize makes that number jump to 4 or 5 ideas. I believe in Whyville. I know it's citizens are smarter than the average group of high-schools. (I realize that's not saying much.) I think they could really produce an amazing commercial.
Then, the next step, is to buy TV ad time. Again, this isn't the super bowl. It's not 2.3 million dollars per 30 seconds. (That was the prize back in '10.) Looking around at a few places, I see that the going rate is about $5 per 1000 viewers. If we were to find a few local news stations (Say, KATU here in Portland, OR), we could have a 30 second commercial out to hundreds of parents and teens for a few hundred dollars. We could run it a few times. I'm not quite drooling yet, but I'll let you know. Say, $500 dollars a spot, for 5 spots. So, $2500. (That would be if 100,000 people were watching each time . . . We'd get quite a few new members.) Not to say every viewer would join, but we've got a shot.
Putting it all together, if Whyville were willing to put $5000 towards it, we could reach thousands (tens, or even hundreds of thousands) of viewers across the US and Canada. Let's say 5% of viewers (and that's a conservative estimate) joined. That's 20 people for every 1000. That's $4 a person. I think we would make that back in a heartbeat. Not to mention that it would bring new sponsors, and that the new members would tell there friends, and it would have a huge domino effect.
I realize Numedeon's coffers are running a little low, and that it might be a stretch, but, hey, like I said, Whyville needs this. I loved Whyville. I truly did. It was a great place to grow up, learn, and meet new people. I'll always remember it, and I know each of us members will have a connection that will last a life time. I want Whyville to do well. I want others to get the chance to experience it, to grow up with it, and, yes, maybe get a little obsessed with it.
Just a little thought.
Author's Note: Sources: http://www.gaebler.com/
Editor's Note: Thanks Xion2 for this idea! We love it when citizens are pro-active about Whyville and are passionate about seeing it grow. I actually am a commercial producer, and I can say that there is quite a lot that goes into making a TV commercial. But you're right in saying that there are ways to be creative and make a small budget work! We'll be sure to pass this idea on and maybe one day you'll see Whyville on your TV.