Reality's New Frontier: Advertising-Driven Conception

Sales of pregnancy tests dipped in recent years, as more women postponed pregnancy in a down economy. Pregnancy test maker First Response is trying a new marketing tactic: Online reality shows hosted by And it doesn't look so bad!

A Conception Story is TLC's first show driven by an advertiser, according to the <em New York Times. It follows six different women who are trying to conceive, as opposed to "hopeful negatives." (The existence of this category explains why pregnancy tests don't have pictures of babies on the package, unlike the company's fertility and ovulation kits.) Their conception dramas are happening basically in real time: they record themselves and have their videos edited and uploaded by TLC a couple of days later.

TLC is obviously trying to own babymaking and babyrearing. Interesting, New York's recent profile of Sarah Palin's business concerns indicated that the overall strategy at the channel is to be the "anti-Bravo," whose shows are "programmed to a liberal urban audience." They are quite explicit about this:

"We don't program TLC to the coasts," one Discovery executive said. "To counterprogram against that Bravo audience, we are programming to Middle America, and we've built a successful business doing that."


Nor are they MTV:

As for casting, "we were not looking for the friction or the wows that come up in the ‘Jersey Shore' type show," Mr. Morgenstern said. "We are positive that these women will be able to relate to our viewers online."

Luckily, as indicated by the story of Angel, a 25-year-old doctor in Baltimore who's trying to juggle her wedding, starting her residency, and trying to get pregnant, all while talking about how hard it is to be a young professional, this isn't quite as exclusive a concept as it might appear. Go, commerce?

Maker of Pregnancy Test Finds Opportunity in Personal Stories [NYT]
Related: How Sarah Palin Became a Singular National Industry [NYM]

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Mayor Squeakerton

Sorry, but isn't the "conception story" usually just sex? Leave it to TLC to turn something beautiful into something utterly banal, to be washed out by bright lights.