Fish....or cut bait!
Been an interesting couple of weeks, hasn’t it? I’ve been around, just a bit too busy to comment with football season right around the corner, I do have a day job after all. Yet with folks acting the fool all over the place I do think it’s time for another PR lesson.
I don’t know who’s running the PR show at Outlander – I have an idea – but I do know one thing, they’re floundering and it’s not completely their fault. Mr. Heughan told on himself the other day with his statement in that lovely little interview.
“Say yes to everything.”
It’s a studio’s and agent’s dream. It’s PR nightmare, but it can be managed if you’re smart about it…which I’m afraid the Starz PR team is not! I have a theory about what’s going on with the Starz/Lionsgate/Sam/Cait mess so let me explain.
First off…. let me tell you what I’ve been doing -the Falcon’s first pre-season game is the 10th so I’ve been setting the talking points for all the upcoming interviews. That’s right, even at a sports level the interviewers are told what they can and cannot talk to the players about. What does that tell you? It tells you that if an interviewer asked whether Sam or Cat were together it was because they were told too by Starz PR, pure and simple! PR sets the narrative, so with that in mind, let’s look at what PR is trying to tell us.
PR wants us to know that Sam and Cait are “obviously” not together and to bring home that point they have Sam and Cait state emphatically in interviews that they aren’t together (pay no attention to their co-stars who have trouble keeping straight faces through all this) and they trot out the blonde in a couple of scenarios so staged her ex-boyfriend found it necessary to throw a little shade.
Now my mind immediately goes to the “why” of them setting this narrative. Why do they want us to think Sam’s hooked up with a 28-year-old blonde that really does nothing for him but make me roll my eyes at his taste in women? Could this narrative be simply because Sam’s in love? Nah, don’t buy that for a second. Sure, Sam posted a pic on Instagram, but did he tag MM? Has he ever? Did he call her by name? Has he ever, once indicated he has a girlfriend or significant other while avowing he and Cait are just pals? A Little tip here people, if you’re going to try to sell this gal to me as his amore, for the love of God get some body language tips from somebody! And don’t use Hargrave, that’s who HiddleSwift used and they were about as believable as a tutu on a crocodile. Oh, and my favorite part, we had those lovely posed pics but the one candid shot had Sam on one side of the helicopter and her on the other and we’re supposed to believe it was because of weight distribution….um okay. Add to that mentions that his brother was originally supposed to accompany him on this outing and the fact that Sam and MM are both represented by the same agent doesn’t help sell the “love” to me either. But seriously they could be dating, who knows…they just don’t sell it too well if they are!
Okay, rant over, back to my theory. So why the push of this narrative? Let’s look at what’s going on in Sam’s life now.
The new movie. Let’s not pretend for a second that Sam’s part in this movie isn’t due to the Starz/Lionsgate connection – I’m not that dumb – are you? And I’m not so dumb that I don’t think Lionsgate doesn’t realize what star potential they have in the boy, but here’s the problem. Outlander, while having a worldwide MASSIVE fan base, has a fan base of women who are mostly over the age of 35. To make Sam the star they want him to be, he’s got to appeal to a younger audience (18-35) as well and with Jamie and Claire aging in the show…it’s a dilemma - at least to the middle-aged male idiots that run things. They can’t change Outlander and have Jamie run off after some younger woman (and not risk getting tarred and feathered) so they change the personal. They concentrate on the shallow – his looks and his physique. They insist that Sam “obviously” couldn’t be with a beautiful, intelligent, successful, woman nearing forty (whether they actually are or not, they can’t even allow the perception). No way! (It makes me wonder, is that what caused Cait’s attitude - not her ire at fans, but at the underlying reason for having to make the remarks in the first place?)
See, I think it’s a battle of wills between Lionsgate and Starz when it comes to PR, Lionsgate wanting to quash the Sam/Cait rumors so they can push the Sam agenda and try to appeal to the younger crowd. NOT a good move in my opinion – especially when the movie is just filming – way too early for such a move.
Starz had it right in the beginning, play off Sam/Caits’ natural chemistry. Are Jamie and Clair such a timeless tale of romance that even your actors even fell under its power? The problem now is fans – even though they say they don’t – relate the actors to the roles. Sam pulling away from Outlander will be emotionally perceived as Jamie pulling away from Claire – and it will hurt them, it already has – why do you think we’re getting all these spoiler pics. It’s like when you’re fishing, you put bait on your hook and if you don’t get any fish…you keep throwing out more bait. Right now, Starz is throwing out bait. The less fish they get…the bigger the bait. Problem is, they haven’t figured out just what kind of bait they need yet.
Remember last time I told you silence was golden. Well for actors and shows it’s the kiss of death…if you want Starz - this time Lionsgate as well -to change its bait, stop eating what you don’t like. You don’t like seeing Sam/MM…please for the love of heaven quit putting those nasty comments on her Instagram, you may think you’re hurting her but all you’re doing is raising her Q-score. IGNORE her, and if you want to send Sam a message about her, ignore him anytime she posts a picture insinuating she’s with him. Shower the show with love, go quiet on Sam. Shower Cait with love, pretend MM doesn’t exist. And let me be clear when I say ignore, I mean be quiet, don’t say her name, don’t comment on her blog, don ‘t check her twitter or her instagram, behave like you did before we knew who she was! When the show throws you bait you like, eat it loudly – ignore what you don’t like. And trust me, all the social media numbers are checked on a daily basis, probably twice a day I would guess, morning and afternoon.
What would I do, if I had the com so to speak? (a little Star Trek reference in case you know who gets a hold of this blog). First off, a certain blonde would fade into the wood work. Sam interacting with younger males in the workout and sports area would go farther in endearing him to younger women than dating a quasi-child. I’d go with attendance at lots of football games in the company of 20-something males and females and an appearance at the World Series. A sighting of Cait visiting Sam in Budapest – or wherever else he’s filming the movie…. maybe a picture that may or may not be her. Then . just before the Outlander premiere…. a fan picture, fuzzy but one you can just make out of the two of them in an embrace….NO more comments of their personal lives period and let people think what they will!
….and that’s why they pay me the big bucks.