Fancy that! It’s 20 years since Big Brother first aired on Channel 4.
I’ve been enjoying classic episodes on E4 this week. Some of the blasts from the past are more shocking than others.
The fashion for fake boobs 👙in 2006 for example was something I’d completely forgotten about. Along with smoking indoors and Nasty Nick – who by today’s standards, wasn’t really that nasty at all.
Other truly atrocious behaviours are also laid bare for all to see – which gives the series a dubious overall legacy – but in among the piss-ups and shagging, there were funny and heart-warming moments too.
The bottom line is, it changed TV forever
This was the first time we were able to watch people under 24-hour surveillance doing their thing. It was the only place you could get access to ‘warts and all’ humans. Now we have YouTube and social media for that.
And of course, now we also have Zoom. Not only on our laptops, but also on our TVs. It’s gone full circle.
Now small rectangles of MPs, actors, TV personalities and Ant and Dec being interviewed, or acting on a split screen, are everywhere we look.
I know we don’t have much choice, but for me it’s too much authenticity. Having been through weeks of this, I want some artifice back. A nice fake TV studio with some crowds cheering and proper atmosphere and some artificial props. Not just a pixilated face against yet another messy bookcase.
For once I feel sorry for footballers ⚽️ playing with fake crowds – actually I feel more sorry for the person in control of the sound effects for this – I imagine pressing the wrong button could really put people off. Like when someone like me accidently cheers a Germany score in an England match.
Of course, generally authenticity is a good thing and I’m all for it
But I think there’s a balance to be struck. People want to get excited about the thing they’re buying, they want to aspire to it, or the person they could become once they’re bought it. They don’t want to be faced with something too real or too like them. It’s not very enticing.
So you have to give them a bit of realism and a bit of fake.
Perhaps, after the pandemic is over and the dust settles, we’ll be more aware of how to strike this balance when it comes to our businesses.
For example taking the convenience and speed of video calls and digital onboarding and blending it with something more polished and enhanced – a glossy video, expensive looking website or beautiful written email for example.
Just because people can host their own TV show online doesn’t mean they should. Sometimes they need a professional to help.