The Biggest Loser ratings fail has taught us a valuable lesson.

Watching the latest episode of Biggest Loser (BL) got me thinking, where did it go wrong?

A few observations I made were:

  • It’s the 11th season and people are genuinely over the show;
  • Loved up couple Michelle Bridges and Commando have been given the boot;
  • It features ‘normal’ people which has put half the population off-side thinking they are overweight or obese;
  • One contestant weighed in under 80kg, which is not much more than the average Australian women weighs; and
  • They are somehow morphing Masterchef into BL with a series of healthy cooking challenges.

Perhaps BL’s demise is because people aren’t connecting to the show, and they aren’t connecting because producers have misread the expectations of the audience. Are audiences so fickle that even a slight change to the formula will send them running?

From a business point of view, it’s a good lesson that when communicating, storytelling or engaging, we need to know our audience’s expectations and how they want to be engaged with.

If we don’t understand their expectations, we can’t possibly meet their needs. Then it’s only a matter of time before we lose impact. While it’s great to take risks and change approaches to how we communicate or engage, it’s important to know the impact this will have. Then if something’s not working, change it.

Sometimes a fresh approach is just what the audience is looking for, other times they want the comfort of knowing exactly what is coming.

Either way, knowledge is power.

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