What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that reality competition series Escape Routes is a promotional vehicle for Ford Motor Company; Ford Escapes and their proprietary navigating services are major parts of the show. Apple computers, iPads, and various online games and apps are also featured. Overall, Escape Routes' content is pretty mild, but there's a bit of catty arguing that the host seems to stoke a bit. Competitions include stunts like hanging off of buildings and flying fighter planes, but safety gear is always used.
What's the story?
Reality game show ESCAPE ROUTES pits six teams against each other in a national road trip competition. The contestants spend six weeks traveling to Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, and Las Vegas; at each destination, they compete in a series of adventurous challenges to earn points. Helping with each one is a crew of virtual teammates consisting of friends, family, and anyone else who's joined escaperoutes.com to help them play the game. The teams must also participate in an interactive challenge that's judged by the online community. Luckily, they've got social media guru Justine Ezarik (AKA iJustine) to help. The team with the most points at the end of the competition wins $100,000 and two brand new Ford Escapes. In between show segments are invitations to sign up on the show's website, as well as call-outs for local \"real-time\" participants at each destination city.
Is it any good?
Each one-hour episode of Escape Routes packs in crazy challenges, high-action stunts, and other events that characterize reality destination competitions. But what makes this show unique is its reliance on social media and a virtual audience to add interesting twists to the game. The constant online streaming of the team's activities and other online show-related activities also adds to Escape Routes' appeal.
It's fun, but the obvious and constant promotion of Ford Motors' products and services makes Escape Routes feel like one big commercial. And at times it also seems like host Rossi Morreale is trying to stir up lukewarm drama between participants to generate more audience interest. But if you can see past this, you'll definitely find some entertaining moments here.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the different ways that reality shows serve as promotional vehicles for products and services. What are some of the advertising techniques used to market to viewers? When do these shows blur the line between highlighting product brands (a.k.a. "branding") and being one big giant commercial?
Does this show cross a line when it comes to promoting a brand into the show? Or are they just being more open about the fact that they're trying to sell a brand? Parents: Get tips about talking to your kids about some of these issues.