With the pre-nomination phase of Emmy season winding down — the ballots were submitted on June 24th, and the nominations will be read Thursday (July 14) — one of the more oddball aspects of this time of year has already ended. We’re talking about the first wave of “For Your Consideration” ads that show up in trade publications like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy magazine.
What are they? Essentially, it’s glossy, high-end begging. In these ads, networks, studios, and sometimes even fans tell the members of the academy to “consider” voting for their shows, or at least the actors, writers, directors and key grips who work there.
It seems like a silly ploy when you think about it; if a show is getting Emmy buzz, it’s not because of some expensive, glossy ad in a magazine. And if the show is a dog, there isn’t much hope that the ad will sway anyone’s opinion. But it’s such an ingrained tradition in the business that is show — the number of “FYC” ads at Oscar time dwarf what we see for TV — that not having an ad will make you stand out more than having one, and not in a good way.
Most of these ads are pretty straightforward: a stock photo of the cast, with each of their names listed. Sometimes the spreads are elaborate fold-outs, giving review blurbs and showing each actor who should be considered. But every year, there are ads that are funny, either intentionally or otherwise. Here are some examples of both, culled from the pages of the most recent issue of Emmy magazine.
The intentionally funny ad. Most of these are self-deprecating, like the ad for “Family Guy” that has Stewie staring at an empty trophy case with the tagline “It’s been this way for eight years, and it’s starting to hurt morale.” But sometimes, it can be just straightforward fun, like the cast of “Modern Family” posing for an old-timey beach portrait in garb that would make them fit right in on “Boardwalk Empire.”
But then you have the parodies, like Jimmy Kimmel making fun of the questionable ads Melissa Leo took out during Oscar season (she won, so it must have worked, right?). Paul Reubens, as Pee-wee Herman, also made fun of Leo’s “Consider…” ad, but we think Kimmel’s is funnier, mainly because his mug Photoshopped on a woman’s body is wrong on so many levels, and if it’s Kimmel in a dress, you can add even more levels of wrongness.
The ad that plays on the “For Your Consideration” format. These aren’t necessarily hilarious, but it at least shows a network that isn’t taking this process too seriously. Showtime, for instance, did a play on the word “consideration” for each of its shows. The most clunky one was “For Your LeBlanc-ification” for Matt LeBlanc‘s performance in “Episodes.”
The ads for the shows that got canceled. In the unintentionally funny category, we’ve got the ads for shows that didn’t make it past their first seasons. And we’re not talking about sleeper shows that got good critical praise; that ad FX took out for “Terriers,” for instance, is completely legit. No, we’re talking about shows that critically lambasted in their short lives. The two best examples are NBC’s “FYC” ad for “Law & Order: LA” and the ad for “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.”
The latter ad is notable because it was taken out by ABC Studios, which produced it, rather than CBS, which aired it and cancelled it. The only blurb it could come up with was from the LA Times, which said the show had “… a remarkable cast…” If you read the entire review, that’s about the only nice thing the writer from the Times had to say about the show.
The ads from fan groups. If you flip to the back of these magazines, you’ll see some not-so-glossy ads, usually of the half-page variety, taken out by a fan group that really wants a certain (usually attractive and leggy) actor to get a nomination. A great example was this ad from a Yvonne Strahovski fan group, who really think the sexy “Chuck” actress deserves an Emmy nod. We’re not going to disagree, and not because of the fantastic picture they used in their ad.
The ads for shows and movies that have a snowball’s chance to get a nomination. We’ve made fun of Lifetime’s movie “The Client List” in this space in the past, so we’ll just let its ad speak for itself. There were two that trumped it, though, in the “not a chance in hell” category: 1) the fold-out spread of “The Kennedys,” which was so bad that the History Channel punted it after spending the money to make it, and 2) the ad for “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Not that there’s anything wrong with the show, mind you, but the campiest the academy has gotten in the reality category was “Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List,” and they got the shakes giving her awards and nominations. RuPaul is probably a step too far for them. Just a hunch.
You can see our 10 favorite “For Your Consideration” ads in the gallery below. You can also see it here.