Memo to Seven promos dept

Why must television promos give everything away?

Network promos for tonight’s episode of Brothers and Sisters identifies the show’s final scene, including the very last story point, which is effectively the episode cliffhanger.

If you haven’t seen it I’ll refrain from the finer detail…

These kind of clumsy mistakes only illustrate that someone doesn’t have their eye on the ball. Nine has some online promos for Survivor recently that showed contestants at Tribal Council. Not too smart when it was getting down to the final few. Apparently that was the work of NineMSN, which has since been worded up.

As for Brothers and Sisters, try cutting a promo that uses more footage from the top of the episode than the end? The rule of storytelling is Set-Up, Conflict, Resolution. What’s the point of giving us the third act in a network promo?


  1. I don’t watch this show,but that’s why at all costs i always avoid commercials they always tell you way to much,Just like movies at the Cinemas

  2. Indeed, the art of a promo is to tease not tell, looks like they have dropped the ball on this one. I was surprized myself when I saw it last night. Over inflated egos and wages if you ask me, they have forgotten who the audience are, caring about how creative or ‘arty’ they can be.
    K.I.S.S principle.

  3. Seriously – US promos are terrible – it’s just grab after grab after grab.. their promos don’t tell you anything about the show.. at least Aussies actually write a script. That’s defo what the US lacks in… writing good scripts.

  4. Us promos tend to be very straight down the middle. Tell you what the show is about. Plain and simple.

    Aussie promos tend to be a bit more creative and abstract.

    Generally speaking, US promos do a better job of “selling” a show.
    Aussie promos are far more original and creative.

  5. US promos tend to be very bleak and obscure, I remember back in the day, our OC promos were so much better than the US ones Fox made, but then again, Fox has always sucked at promos, but obviously if a significant event, like a wedding, or a character dying or proposal, I’m sure the network would promote that, as these huge events are what viewers love to see.

    Look at ER’s promo for the episode where Clooney comes back, though it was stipulated that Clooney not be shown or mentioned in the promo, NBC wastes no effort illustrating that at least three of the original six characters were coming back.

    The promo is on YouTube, just search “ER In times of old promo”

    I don’t watch Brother’s and Sisters, so I’m not really “in-the-loop” but if it were a wedding that was in the next episode, I’m sure 7 would be promoting it as “the wedding of the century” or something along those lines…

  6. @Benno

    Dear God, the Ten promos for House are *the* perfect example of promos focussing on insignificant bits. I can recall countless times watching a promo for House (having already seen the episode) and going “uh, that’s not the storyline for the episode.”

    Ten just seem to do that for a lot of their shows – take a few lines out of context, throw them together, and make it out that that’s the storyline for that episode. Either that or just have a promo that is so general that it’s not funny.

  7. @ Craig

    Most, if not all, promos are made locally. I’ve seen some US promos and then the Australian promos and they are sometimes very different. More often than not, the US ones are better because they provide a general overview of the story (although sometimes that is a spoiler, often not though), while Australian networks tend to focus on more insignificant aspects. Eg. Dr House sneezing then our networks asking if he is going to die (not that blatant, but I’m sure my point is made).

  8. I’ve seen that promo (as I’m a big fan of the show) & I wondered about that.
    It’s like they don’t care they’re almost giving it all away, which is sad.

    What happened to the days when Networks actually cared … about the tv shows, about the viewers … and took pride in what they did?
    It’s sad that they don’t seem to care enough anymore!

  9. I just try to avoid the internet, Tv promos and magazines, so i can just enjoy it as unfolds. Again, how much to these people get paid? and how qualified are they?

  10. if you watch the us promos of shows on youtube, they actually tell you what the ep will is about. most the time when you see the australia promo you have no information about the ep, or in the case of brother and sister to much.

  11. Channel 10 are worse with their promos that spin one insignificant scene into something that has nothing to do with anything… i gave up watching promos a long time ago for shows that I love… They tend to do more harm than good.

  12. Ten has a bad habit of showing Biggest Loser promos that effectively tells us who will not be eliminated in the the elimination show by showing a contestent in one of the challenges that happens after an elimination.

    Also – to avoid knowing too much about a show, never watch a so called “sneak peak”!

  13. just great luckly i havent seen it as Im really starting to get into Brothers and Sisters this year and i think if i say that Promo id be upset about it as it would spoil the show for me.

    But is it just me or does no one in Australia know how to make good Pormo ads for the US shows it seams that all the stations dont know how to make good promos.

    EG Tens Promos for SVU lately comes to mind the ads are so bad Ive seen the eps from the US and the US promo ads already and compared to the Autralian versions their pretty sad and doesnt even give a good hint as to whats the ep about

  14. It’s like when Ch 7 showed Alex & Izzie getting married in a Grey’s Anatomy promo. It was supposed to be a surprise, and they ended up ruining the whole storyline of the episode. They have no brains! No wonder people watch online, at least it doesn’t get spoiled that way!

  15. It’s not just promos.

    I remember in the US a few years ago TV Guide gave away a massive spoiler on it front cover! Now I was spoiled for the show in question but I hate to thing what it does for those who don’t want to know. Especially in these days of easy access and how hard it is to stay spoiler free.

  16. Of course ch7 are going to show the dramatic ending. Its what gets people in to watch. Shows have been doing it for years. I know the ending you are talking about and if there are others like me out there they would have read ahead on the epiosdes that have been shown in America to find out what happens.

    Yes im sorry i couldn’t wait. Once I read that Kitty had cancer I followed some clips on you tube to find out what happens.

  17. Seven’s done the “show the final-scene-in-the-promo” and “give away the entire plot up to the final scene” thing in its drama promos for many years now.

  18. Promos are not designed to tell the story in a linear fashioned.
    They are to make you watch.
    Whatever it takes, sometimes at whatever cost.

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