Branded game shows are nothing new, like Beat Shazam which brilliantly put Jamie Foxx front and center of the show to help distract viewers at home from the fact that they were basically watching a program that was based entirely off a smartphone application. Seriously, it would be like Yelp having their own version of kitchen nightmares, or Evernote launching their own true crime series. Pepsi and FOX's Cherries Wild follows this same tradition and early trailers of the show appear to show a "fake audience."
Does 'Cherries Wild' have a fake audience? Looks like it.
If you watch early trailers for the show while host Jason Biggs is on the program with contestants, it seems like there are throngs of people watching the action from a long way away from the stage. However, wide shots don't show anyone in the "crowd" while contestants try their luck on the main stage.
The only time audience reactions are shown in the trailer is from cutaways. Go ahead, take a look at it below.
The show premieres Sunday, Feb, 14 at 7 p.m. EST on FOX, so we'll have to wait to see the show live before we find out if the audience is fake or not.
It's difficult to imagine that with many social distancing protocols still in place that full capacity studio audiences will be allowed into the production studio.
Then there's the extra costs associated with implementing new health and safety protocols to get everyone in the studio at the same time.
As viewers, we've kind of been trained to tune out traditional modes of advertising from our brains. How many times have you seen a commercial for something and gone out and actually purchased it? However, if you've seen something retweeted or talked about by someone you trust in passing, you probably get a little more interested in checking out said product.
Or, if someone puts content up first before a product, that builds a certain level of trust between individuals.
Like when popular YouTuber Mr. Beast launched his "Mr. Beast Burger" virtual dining experience which partnered with local restaurants in order to create 300 burger joints all over the U.S. Fans of the YouTuber flocked to grab some fast food because of their affinity for Mr. Beast, thanks to his years of free-to-view content he's been uploading over the years.
The fact that he gives away Teslas helps too.
And while Cherries Wild isn't giving viewers at home any automobiles, the game show hopes that this same style of "content first, marketing second" will help produce a highly-rated game show and more Wild Cherry Pepsi drinkers.
The Wrap writes that "FOX promises that the 30-minute show is not going to turn out to be a 30-minute commercial for soda."
FOX's president of alternative media, Rob Wade, has also stated that the series began as a game show before a Pepsi commercial; the billion-dollar cola brand is just sponsoring it. It's a trivia game show that poses questions to contestants from two major categories: "Fact or Fiction," which is basically true or false, or "One Big Question," which asks a trick question.
Every time a question is answered correctly, participants will get either cash, a spin of the slot machine, or a Wild Cherry. If you get five of those, you go home with the grand cash prize of $250,000.
You can actually play the 'Cherries Wild' game at home on a mobile device and win cash.
You'll be able to download the application from the App Store or Google Play Store and participate during key spots during the show. If your slot pull matches what the contestants get in the program, you'll match whatever prize they've earned in the show. And then during a commercial break you'll get to play "Trivia Rush," during which you'll be able to earn one of two $2,500 cash prizes.
Outside of the show times, you'll be able to pull virtual slots, but there's no indication as to whether or not you'll get any prizes for playing during this time.