The two celebrity-based programmes still attract high viewing figures but what do their fans think their characteristics are? Jo Coombes of MEC finds out.
In September 2014, viewers welcomed back the 12th series of Strictly Come Dancing. The show, airing on BBC 1 sees 15 celebrities paired up with professional dance partners to learn a variety of Ballroom or Latin techniques. The Halloween episode pulled in 9.7 million viewers, a 43.9% share between 6.30pm and 8.15pm on Saturday, beating The X-Factor's Halloween ratings by 2.3 million viewers.
Another long-running celebrity-based show which remains to be successful in terms of attracting and engaging a wide viewer base is I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! The contestants for the eagerly awaited 14th Series of the ITV hit programme, airing in November 2014 have recently been announced. The show, presented by Geordie duo Ant & Dec finds a group of 12 celebrities forced to live together in a jungle environment for a few weeks, with no luxuries or contact with the outside world. They are given a range of tasks, ‘bushtucker trials' to earn food for camp. The opening episode of the 2013 series attracted a peak audience of nearly 13 million and an average of 12 million viewers.
The continuous high viewing figures for these shows demonstrates that the UK population are still fascinated by the world of celebrity. But how do these two celeb-based programmes match up to each other? Using data from the latest wave (2014) of MEC's brand health study MediaZ, we can examine how consumers feel about them.
The advocacy and talkability of the two is very similar. 37% of Media Z respondents regularly talk about things they see or hear on Strictly, while 41% regularly talk about things they see on I'm a Celebrity… (the average against all properties on MediaZ is 17%). This talkability is in line with the level of buzz that the shows generate. The episode of Strictly on the 8th November 2014 generated 13,720 Twitter mentions on that day and for the series finale of I'm a Celebrity… on 8th December 2013, 33,257 related Tweets were generated.
MediaZ asks respondents if they love/like/dislike various media properties, and for properties they like or love they are asked to choose at least four characteristics from a list of 42 that best describe that property, thus determining its personality.
Looking at the characteristics that MediaZ respondents associate with each programme, there are some similarities; both are perceived as Playful (Strictly 52% vs. I'm a Celebrity… 59%) and Successful (Strictly 61% vs. 54%). However, there are also numerous differences in perception. Strictly is viewed as being particularly and Glamorous (72% vs. 4%), and Stylish (61% vs. 4%) while I'm a Celebrity… has a more masculine feel, being rated more Rugged (18% vs. 0%), Rebellious (22% vs. 3%), Brave (34% vs. 11%) and Laid Back (14% vs. 8%).
Strictly presents the contestants in a very polished light. They are on the show to entertain and display their newly honed skills while sporting glitzy outfits. Everything about the show is staged and well-groomed.
I'm a Celebrity… vs. Strictly Come Dancing
Source: MediaZ, MEC
I'm a Celebrity… on the other hand, is more focused on presenting the raw and real side of celebrity. They are stripped of their home comforts and filmed 24/7 in a much more natural environment. The show is very laid back and everything, including the down to earth duo presenting it reinforces this.
Opportunities for brands to be involved with I'm a Celebrity… are wide-ranging and have proved lucrative, with Iceland being a sponsor of the show and reaping the rewards for eight years. Brand opportunities are more limited for Strictly, as a BBC property. However, opportunities to link to the personalities within the show is one way around this. To coincide with the 7th series, Strictly merchandise was launched through the commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. The Strictly annual tour also began offering sponsorship in 2009, providing partners with an uncluttered platform to link themselves to the characteristics associated with the show.
As these two long-running shows seem to be continuing their reign it will be interesting to monitor how viewer perceptions and the opportunities that brands are presented with alter over the coming years, as the celebrity reality TV sector becomes more saturated with fierce competition from other shows.