Undercover Boss

Last night, while visiting my family for the Easter holiday, I tuned in to watch an episode of “Undercover Boss” with my family. Run on CBS, the show follows CEOs who go undercover to find out what their company is really like at the ground level.

The particular episode we watch profiled the CEO of Roto-Rooter, as he went undercover under as a new hire named Hank at several Roto-Rooter locations across the country.

As we watched the show, I was struck by how great of a PR opportunity the show presented for Roto-Rooter (and other companies who will be profiled throughout the course of the season). On this show, the company received a one-hour profile, and the format of the show was perfect for enabling Roto-Rooter to show off its strengths as a company, profile some of its best employees, make it look like they are genuinely looking for ways to improve and show that their company embraces both its workforce and its customers.

A show like this is an especially good opportunity for a company like Roto-Rooter, one that doesn’t get a lot of publicity and operates in an industry that is not usually front of mind (plumbing). The show was definitely entertaining, but this all begs the question: at what point are shows like this beneficial for brands and at what point do audiences become suspicious that they are advertisements operating under the guise of entertainment?

What do you think? Have you watched the show? If so, what is your take?

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