ABC execs thought they had a winner when they dreamed up a contest to have fans pick out the mistakes in one episode of The Drew Carey Show. But they were unprepared for the almost 250,000 entries that followed the What’s Wrong With This Picture? April Fool’s Day contest.
“We were thrilled,” said Dan Longest, ABC’s vp, promotion marketing. “We put together a contest that got a lot of people’s attention.”
The contest, simply put, was a dare for viewers to catch all the mistakes in Drew’s April 1 show. Some were obvious, like misspelled names in the credits or mooing sounds during the show. A master list of 96 mistakes was created and the winner found 95 of the mistakes. He will get $25,000, a first-class trip to Los Angeles for a walk-on role on the show, and lunch with Drew himself.
“We worked hand-in-hand with the show,” Longest says. “The producers and stars were all in on it.” The episode was sponsored by Clairol Herbal Essences.
Longest said it was hard to judge if the contest was responsible for a ratings jump, but the number of entries was impressive considering the work required. As befitting the show’s personality, not all entries were simply pen on paper, Longest adds. One person sent in her answers written on a coconut, while another submitted all her answers in needlepoint.
Longest says the contest’s success made it likely ABC would try a similar contest in its upcoming season, although it might be with a different show.