TV show pilot ‘Dads’ marketing scam.

I got a telemarketing call last week (why I answered it I don’t know (we have caller ID for this reason)) asking if I’d take part in a test viewing of a tv show episode. I received this today with materials and a letter from Doris Price from Audience Studies, Inc. of Cincinnati, OH. The video was a ‘self-erasing video tape’ through the placement of a magnet, pretty slick that. It was a sitcom called ‘Dads’. Turns out this is more of a marketing scam than an actual test pilot viewing. First off, what kind of pilot comes with commercials in it? Also the fact that the show references ‘Barney’ pretty heavily dates it. Finally, the credits at the end of the video date it as 1997. So they are test marketing a show they made 6 years ago? Yeah right, weasles.

I searched on the web and found this thread from other people who were duped too, back as far as 2001. This one post was particularly informative.

I also found this site which says even more.

The show itself was predictable and stereotypical too. Clueless dads who don’t know about doing dishes or their kids birthdays.

When they call tomorrow to ask about what I thought I plan to be pretty harsh about their deceiptful practices. I’m willing to watch a show to tell them what I think. Hell I’d even be willing to watch it with commercials if they were up front, but dont lie to me, bastards.

10 thoughts on “TV show pilot ‘Dads’ marketing scam.”

  1. I got a tape like that once – it was an ad for toothpaste. Then again, it came with a free tube of toothpaste, and it was only a 60-second tape.

  2. I was searching the net for information on this topic.

    I work for Bernett Research and our largest client is a company, IPSOS/Audience Studies and for every complete survey the company is paid nearly $80. Most companies have us do 1000-2000 surveys.

    Generally the intro will sound like this:

    —Hello my name is __________ calling on behalf of Audience Studies. The people who make and sponsor TV programs are interested in your opinions. We are not selling anything and this is not a contest or a promotion. Today we are inviting a select group of people to watch a new half our program.
    – ok go ahead

    #######Generally people either hang up or say they are not intersted but about 1/4 of the calls are successful and they can continue the survey#####

    —Are you in the 18-65 age group?
    – YES

    — So that we know our survey includes people of all ages can you please tell me your age?

    —The people who make and sponsor TV shows are interested in your opinions. We would like to send you via priority mail a video tape of a half hour program and ask you to watch on on Monday December 29th. We will then call you back on Tuesday December 30th between 3 and 9pm to get your opinions. Your name will also be entered into 2 prize drawings for cash and products worth $75 each. Will you watch the new tv program on Monday December 29th?

    that was a serious mistake my friend you are about to get screwed. The average survey when people are called back will take 45 minutes to an hour and surveys average 250-300 questions.

    On the callback:

    —Hello, my name is __________ calling on behalf of Audience Studies and I would like to speak with ________ ________.
    – This is _______ _______

    —Is this a good time to ask you a few questions?
    – Sure

    — Did you watch the special video preview of “Dads”

    — When did you watch the program?
    – Yesterday

    — Can you get the Video Tape, Program Evaluation, and Yellow and green entry forms.
    -Yes I got em

    — What did you like about the program “Dads”?
    – bla bla bla, bla bla bla bla, bla bla bla bla — responses are not actually recorded.

    — Since we were interested in your total viewing habbits we would like to ask you a few questions about the commericals during the program.
    -uhh, ok

    —Do you recall seeing a commercial about mouth wash?

    — Do you recall seeing a commercial about orange juice?

    —Do you recall seing a commercial about Paper towls?

    ######If answered no to any of the above questions it will do the following:######

    —Now I am going to mention some brand names.
    —Do you recall seeing a commercial about Listerine Mouth Wash?

    #######if answer is no, it will do the following:######

    —Do you recall seeing a commerical where a young man was running thru a field, suddenly he relized the rain was going to fall and it began to rain. He ran to a farm. He knocked on the door and a woman let him in. The woman gives him a a bottle of listerine. He smiles and then the listerine logo melts over everything and the commerical goes to black. (something to that effect)

    —Do you recall seeing a commercial that looked like this?

    So then we ask about 200 more questions about what they think of listerine.

    If you are a “lucky one” you will get to watch a commercial at the end of the tape and the interviewer is required to type every word you say including words like “uh, umm,” etc.

    Then at the end it will ask extremely personal details such as a question like this:

    —Is your income under or over $35,000 a year?

    —Is your income under or over $70,000 a year?

    –Is it, $35,0000 to $40,000, $40,000 to $45,000, $45,000 – $50,000, $50,000 to $55,000, $55,000-$60,000, $60,000 to $65,000, $65,000 to $70,000, or is it $65,000 to $70,000?
    -45 to 50

    —How many children do you have living in your household?

    —What is the age of the oldest child?

    —Is that child a boy or a girl?

    —What is the age of the next oldest child?

    —Is that child a boy or a girl?

    Then it goes off with the usuall survey questions like marital status, employment status, and a few more useless questions.

    Then the closing:

    —That is all the questions I have. The video tape is not reusable and cannot be replayed. Please discard it. On behalf of Audience Studies, thank you for your time.
    -you $%^%%$$ son of a %^$%$$.

    I need a new job but I can make over $10.00 an hour and come to work anytime I want.

    But I do really feel bad for all of the people here who were scammed.

    – Market Researcher

  3. Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for the warning. I got the tape and was going to watch it tonight. I guess I’ll still watch it, but I feel like a chump, but thanks for filling me in so i don’t feel like too big of a chump

  4. I got the tape ‘Dads’ yesterday. I could tell it was a scam by the datedness of the program. Today they are suppose to phone me. I will let them know that I am not interested in participating anymore.

  5. Dudes! Your’re spoiling it!

    I work at Bernett Research along with that other dude, and in fact just did a couple 45 minute long callback surveys, and I wouldn’t be no average joe if I didn’t ask you not to call it a scam. Sheesh. That implies we don’t hold up our end of the bargain when it comes to the two $75 prize drawings, which we always stay faithful toward. You don’t even have to give anything about any commercials. A person could completly forget they ever saw any commercials and would still get in the prize drawings.

    As for not telling people that we’ll be asking about commercials, it completly neccessary and reasonable. We want to see what people think when they don’t think they should think about the commercials. People don’t watch television rating every commercial no matter what, knowing their opinion could be called upon at any moment. We want to see what sticks, what they can remember, what stands out, and if they can even remember the brand names or companies the commercials were for.

    So sheesh. If you’ve read this thread and know what it’s all about, and they’ll be calling to see what you thought, remembered, and enjoyed, just apologize and say you can’t do it because you knew too soon. Smart of you to find out, sure, but it wouldn’t be helpful to the businesses who cough up more dough then could buy a yacht to put these commercials on the air to pay for Friends and Law & Order.

  6. 2/17/2004

    I just got this tape. I figured something was up as soon as I saw all the grocery products in the two books. Nonetheless, I still viewed the tape as instructed …. with one exception –

    Being an enginner and knowing a “little” about how stuff works, I quickly found the magnet taped near the video take-up roller and removed it BEFORE I watched the tape.

    This said, I DO have this video in it’s original form. I was thinking of selling it on eBay? =) But if someone want’s it, I’m open to offers .. lol.

    As far as feeling duped, I really didn’t feel that way. I knew it was most likely a marketing ploy from the get-go.

    I can see why the pilot never made it … it sucked! The were a few filming errors also … like at the end, where the guy’s were all sitting at the restaurant table talking … if you look in the background you’ll see the tall blond lawyer that the main character was flirting with and her kid get up from a booth and walk towards them; instantly the scene changes and another anonymous couple is in the booth and the blond lawyer disappears.

    It was nice seeing the guy from “SOUL MAN” again though, lol.

    My offer stands on the Video …. heck, I’ll even throw in the product books as a bonus!

  7. this is amazing! i live in Chile you know thousands of miles away from usa and i just got the copy of “dads” i also got the book with all these grocery products, i just got into the net to find out something about this and surprise!!!i was suspicioous about my participation but i just thought that they wanted to do a chilean copy of that sitcom, anyway i hate commercials and the vid was full of them, tomorrow they will visit me to know my opinion, at least i know that is a marketing trick.

  8. I received the tape, Friday, March 5, 2003. I hate telemarketers because of the reading of dialogue that begins with every call. I don’t even get to say anything until their written speech is over.

    Anyway, I drilled the operator about the tape. I asked who would benefit from the information that was to be received from me and she got confused and put the manager on the phone.

    He too, couldn’t answer the questions directly, just read an overused reponse and said it was for sponsers and a possible new sitcom show.

    There was no mention of the 18 page survey form or the two answer sheets that had to be filled out also. Had it been mentioned, I would not have participated.

    Its no big deal, I know, but couldn’t they have been honest about all the paperwork involved.

    After all, I was honest enough to watch the stupid “1997” produced show and fill out the stupid paperwork, knowing they didn’t care about the show, only the products in the survey.

    They will be calling tonight and I will answer questions regarding the sitcom, other than that, that is the end of my phone conversation..CLICK

  9. QUOTE: I work at Bernett Research along with that other dude, and in fact just did a couple 45 minute long callback surveys, and I wouldn’t be no average joe if I didn’t ask you not to call it a scam. Sheesh. That implies we don’t hold up our end of the bargain when it comes to the two $75 prize drawings, which we always stay faithful toward. You don’t even have to give anything about any commercials. A person could completly forget they ever saw any commercials and would still get in the prize drawings.

    I also work for bernetts.

    Yeah I dont think it is a scam either, just misleading information in the introduction where people hear “special half hour program”.

    As far as the “prize drawings” go. I dont know how it is awarded but I dont think the odds are so good compared to the ammount of completes we have to get for a job.

    “Television Shows AND their sponsors”

  10. Yup, I work at Bernett too! I have been meaning to search what “Audience Studies” brings up for a long time and I found this place. Honestly I think that the lack of upfront information in the recruits can be a bit misleading and hence frustrating but as someone already pointed out, it is important that the respondant be as uninformed as possible so the clients can understand what “real” views see and remember. Personally I think that who ever came up with this system is a genius even if I don’t like the method per say. If any disgruntled viewers out there would like to submit a system where respondants can view commercials impartially in the context of a show (so the client can see in as real a setting as possible how much people remember) with out pissing off so many people, I would love to hear it. And I am sure my supervisors would love a new way to do the survey because let me tell you, we don’t like it and the supervisors don’t like it any more than we do!

    Sorry to all of you who feel you were scammed. Honestly the information is used to direct the advertising market and one thing you might want to remember is:

    If this gets your honest opnion of what commercials and products look like, is it worth a little hassle so you don’t have to watch completely inane commercials all the time? I wish I did not disqualify for all surveys because I would love to have my opinion out there! You all are lucky!

    Bernett Employee #3

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