A Brief Rant About The Bachelorette’s Marketing

This post was written by Stephanie Hodges

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As big fans of the Bachelorette, we have been anxiously awaiting the season 17 premiere.

In case you missed it, a tumultuous last season of The Bachelor has led to many changes in the franchise.

In addition to making some structural changes within the show, we’ve also noticed a big change in ABC’s marketing of the upcoming season. Yep. When you’re a marketing nerd, these are the things to which you pay attention. So, let’s get down to the business of what has changed and what we think about each change. 

Instagram Stories

The marketing team for The Bachelorette has ramped up Instagram Story use, something that makes sense given that more than 500 million people interact with Instagram Stories daily. In addition to utilizing Stories for video promos, The Bachelorette account is also using Stories to introduce the men. On their page, you’ll find a “Meet the Men” highlight, where you can quickly tap through and learn snippets of information about this season’s suitors. SMART. Other categories include highlights from past seasons and a game of M.A.S.H., which is seriously a blast from the past—and one of many nostalgic elements of The Bachelorette’s new marketing strategy. Our thoughts? 10/10. 

Branding

It’s been almost 20 years. We know the franchise tries to mix things up with promos each season, but WOW. The shift to pink is a biggie. Normally, The Bachelor/Bachelorette sticks to its iconic, rose-colored red for branding. Not this time—Katie’s promos feature an ombre pink and purple background, which is also now the backdrop for The Bachelorette’s profile image. Interesting choice. Is it to represent femininity? Katie is often painted as “one of the guys” by fans online, and perhaps show execs wanted to change perception through colors and styling. Is it to distract us from the PR crisis that happened last season? Maybe there is no deeper meaning, but it is a notable stray from their typical branding. We’re all for a rebrand, (and we do love pink), but why make such a drastic change for Katie’s season? 5/10. 

Community Management

Another social media marketing strategy we noticed is that Katie is commenting on nearly every single post pushed out by the official @thebachelorette account. This is a strategy used by many marketers to humanize a celebrity or brand’s image. These comments portray that Katie is excited for the season and by commenting on the posts, we as fans feel as though we’re in this journey with her. Is it actually Katie, though? We’d bet that a marketing agency is behind the social media of the show’s stars. Either way, it’s smart. And a prediction: The franchise continues to involve fans as much as possible. Do we sense a future “fan’s choice” for Bachelor next season? We give this an 8/10. 

Social Graphics

This season, The Bachelorette announced contestants through cutesy social media graphics. The graphics included fun facts about each suitor. For example: “Dreams of going to Italy and eating pasta.” “Biggest fear: Rats.” “Never ridden a horse.” “Hates mayo and mustard.” 

First of all, Connor B., who DOESN’T dream of going to Italy and eating pasta? As for the mayo and mustard, what ARE you putting on your sandwiches, Kyle??

While the graphics and facts are fun to read and a cute spin on getting to know the men, they feel a little….. Young. Between the facts themselves and the “handwritten” style of the graphic, it feels like something you’d read on a note in 8th grade. Nostalgic, yes. Showing that they’re ready for marriage? Ehhh. Aaron might be afraid of rats, but we want to know if he’s afraid of commitment. What demographic is The Bachelorette targeting with this content? Could be a move to appeal to Gen Z, though many of the show’s viewers are loyal millennials and Gen Xers who’ve been watching since it’s debut in 2002. We’re baffled by this one. It feels like a reach and unorganized in its purpose. 4/10. 

Imagery

It’s clear that the show wanted the men of this season to appear as “real.” This is a striking dichotomy with how they’ve chosen to portray Katie in promos. With heavy, obvious airbrushing, the imagery used in Katie’s promotional social posts looks like something we’d see in a 1998 People Magazine. In the era of #unfiltered and #keepingitreal, why have the show’s decision-makers chosen to go in the opposite direction? In fact, top comments on Katie’s initial promo post feature users expressing their disappointment in the use of such intense PhotoShop. Katie is already beautiful—why airbrush her so much? On top of that, the reason so many viewers resonated with Katie last season is because she seemed SO real, like someone who could be your best friend. So, why not run with this authenticity, and show the REAL, untouched Katie in promos? Instead, by promoting an image of Katie that we’re unfamiliar with, some fans might feel betrayed. After nearly 20 years of having young, size 0 or 2, model-like women on the show, this could’ve been an opportunity for the franchise to start being more authentic. But nope. 3/10.

Personal Thoughts

This season, execs of The Bachelorette are taking risks. Not only are they adjusting the show’s structure, but they’re also adjusting their marketing strategy. And in a time of low viewership (which could be further threatened by Harrison’s absence this season) it makes sense to try something new. We applaud The Bachelorette’s social team for stepping outside of the box, but we just wanna talk with whoever decided to edit Katie’s promo photos. 

Stephanie Hodges

As a digital marketing specialist, Stephanie develops innovative creative content for our clients. Her creative efforts are seen across various platforms, with a focus on organic and paid social marketing.

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