Charlie Sheen’s 'Anger Management' Commanded The Highest Ad Rates FX Has Ever Seen

Charlie Sheen

Photo: AP

After being fired from his CBS show, Two and a Half Men, and having his kids taken away by his estranged wife last year, some thought that Charlie Sheen’s career was finished.He alternately appeared on TV and the Internet looking out of control one day and back to his “winning” ways the next.

His behaviour seemed to reinforce what some well-known psychologists, were saying about him.

However, those that counted him out again and again really don’t know Charlie Sheen. If they did, they would know that, he is a winner.  

Even his “failures” break records.

His post meltdown road show received bad reviews and had some fans asking for their money back. Even so, according to website TMZ, the original 2-city road show sold out within 18 minutes – breaking a Ticketmaster record and prompting all involved to plan additional tour dates.

The first two dates of this tour alone brought in $300,000. Based on the early sellout, the tour was expanded to 14 cities with others clamoring to be added to the list. This feat came on the heels of his breaking a number of other records

  • Highest rated TV Show. When he starred in 2.5 men, it was the highest rated show on TV.
  • Highest paid actor on television. On 2.5 men, he received highest pay per episode of any actor in television ($2 million).
  • Fastest climb to 1 million Twitter followers. Charlie holds the Guinness World Record for attracting over a million followers within 25 hours (at last count, he has over 7.5 million followers).
  • Most followers per Tweet. Last year, after his meltdown, the Los Angeles Times reported that Charlie holds the Twitter record for most followers per Tweet at 28,581. By comparison, the same ratio for others with large followings is listed below in descending order: Conan O’Brien = 6,525; President Obama = 5,383; Lebron James = 1,509; Kim Kardashian = 973. Many bloggers noted that Charlie’s record-breaking performance has been a boon for Twitter. He has shown Twitter to be the only marketing platform that enables individual marketers to quickly build an “owned” audience in real-time without having the message filtered and altered by publicists or others.

Fast-forwarding to the present, the Charlie Sheen brand is showing even the biggest sceptics that it can still generate excitement and make money.

The Charlie Sheen brand is alive and well.

Even though the first episode has not yet aired on the FX Network, his new show called Anger Management is already surprising everyone. According to the Hollywood Reporter, ad spots on the first four episodes are already sold out at the highest CPM rates FX has ever seen for a first-year series (CPM is advertising speak for the cost to reach 1000 prospects).

Put in perspective, this is happening even though (1) the show missed the “up front” sales window when advertisers bid on sponsoring shows in upcoming seasons and (2) the show is due to air during one of the lowest summer demand periods for ad dollars. More impressively, the network’s tracking surveys suggest that Anger Management has the highest intent-to-view of any summer series beating the much promoted remake of Dallas on TNT and Snooki and JWoww on MTV.

In fact, advertisers found a way to create a place for Anger Management in their budgets. Wow, I need to get an infusion of “winning tiger blood” to convince my clients to make more room for me in their budgets.

How he created such a successful brand.

While some think Charlie is crazy, and perhaps he is, a lot of people are following him and quickly buying what he is selling. In Hollywood, crazy sells if it is the right kind of crazy. What is the right kind of crazy? One that brings in box office and sells sponsored products. Ever since he was expelled from Santa Monica High School (full disclosure: that is my alma mater too), he has followed the beat of a different drummer. Being different, if done in the right way, is great for building a brand. What else has he done to create his iconic brand?

  • Created an original persona and speaks his mind.
  • Created a new language of slogans some have called Sheenglish or Sheenisms.
  • Developed a good product. Many believe he is a good actor.
  • Amassed a large following through his movies and TV shows.
  • Communicated (and continues to communicate) with followers in real time.
  • Mobilizes his fans to take buying actions.

Whether you like Charlie or not, his brand is alive and well, and the people in his target audience have different reasons for liking him. Hopefully, the segment that looks to him as a role model is minuscule, or it might signal the end of civilisation as we know it.

Segments that think he is funny, clever, outrageous, out-of-his-mind, or someone over which they can feel superior are the ones that keep him in the news. Stay tuned for Anger Management, which is scheduled to premiere in two back-to-back episodes June 28th on the FX network 9:00 and 9:30PM PDT and EDT. 

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