Catchphrase “You’re Fired” Ignited Success of The Apprentice

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

NBC’s The Apprentice is one reality show that has resonated with viewers across the country thanks to strategic promotional tactics and its dynamic front man, real estate mogul Donald Trump.

To promote the second season of the show, which debuts this September, NBC will be running teasers of new footage. Marketing and promotion will resemble that of a scripted show. Brand name phrases will also be used to leverage the show’s return, such as the infamous “You’re Fired.”

Merchandising has also debuted since the launch of the first season—there are now You’re Fired T-shirts and mugs and Trump has appeared in commercials for both Verizon and Visa.

“I want to be careful with commercials because it can be negative—it has to be carefully handled,” Trump said last week at the PROMAX&BDA conference in New York City.

Product integration will also be featured in the second season.

New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott, who moderated the panel discussion, grilled Trump along with Dennis Swanson, COO, EVP-Viacom Station Group and Vince Manze, president of The NBC Agency, to find out what helped make this show a hit.

“It resonates with viewers because it is about something we all have—a job,” Manze said. He went on to explain that NBC sold the show like a drama with Trump acting as “our own J.R. Ewing,” alluding to the famed Dallas front man.

Swanson pointed out that America is a star-driven society and its star, Donald Trump, propelled the show. Trump referred to himself as a “larger than life character, who leaps off the stage.”

As for the You’re Fired moniker. Swanson said that the catchphrase served an important role in the show, “It’s critical in this morass of clutter on TV—you pray that you can get a catchphrase like that.”


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