When Social and Traditional Media Clash

I’m a huge fan of the CBS show The Big Bang Theory. Now in it’s fifth season, the writing is delightful and the cast is like none other on TV. It’s also about a core group of four nerds that love everything that has to do with science (so it hits home just a bit too). Naturally, my fanaticism for the show leads me to joyfully watch trailers for upcoming episodes as well as follow the various social media streams produced by the network. Those habits led to a bit of trouble this week. To start, watch the trailer:

The core premise in the trailer — “What’s the matter with Sheldon?” — is left unanswered at the end, creating a great reason for both casual and super fans to tune in on Thursday. I first saw the trailer on Monday night, and was drawn to this episode more than usual (which is, as a fanatic, a lot). Now, read the social media post I saw on Tuesday morning:

Big Bang Theory

The show’s Facebook page, which also happens to link to the very same trailer I saw on TV, essentially answers the core premise in the first sentence: “[Sheldon’s] barber gets sick.” And therein lies the problem. Apparently, the folks producing the traditional promotional vehicles like the trailer are not the same team managing the social media streams. Now, it’s possible that social media fans were intentionally given more information, are being treated differently because they have self-identified as super fans, or that I’m simply over-reacting. But because I’m such a huge fan, I was actually disappointed to read the “spoiler” and have the answer to “What’s the matter with Sheldon?” revealed before Thursday.
Even though I actually worked for CBS at one time, I do not know exactly how promotion of The Big Bang Theory is organized. This post is not necessarily a criticism either. My point in sharing this observation is simply to provide a cautionary tale. If this strategy was intentional, and I’m simply over-reacting, then no harm, no foul. However, if this was an oversight, or if the teams are not communicating and the strategies are truly in conflict, then that becomes a major issue. As you set out to produce traditional and social media to promote a product or service for your business, make sure everyone involved is walking the same path. If your teams are not communicating, you might just disappoint a super fan.