When Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett first embarked on creating Sesame Street, they could never have imaged the impact that it would have. With over 100 Emmy awards to its’ name, Sesame Street remains one of the most popular children’s television shows to date. Started in 1969, Sesame Street not only introduced us to Big Bird and Elmo, but it also revolutionized and challenged the status quo.
While at first glance Sesame Street may seem like an obvious children’s favorite, the reality of the situation was that Sesame Street was the counter to the ‘norm.’ Part genius and part luck, Sesame Street’s ‘success story’ serves as an excellent examples to marketers on how to make anything from an idea to a campaign succeed.
The Big Bird That Almost Never Happened
Believe it or not, but when Sesame Street was first conceptualized and created, Big Bird wasn’t part of it. Not just Big Bird, but other lovable Muppets, like Oscar the Grouch, were never even supposed to be part of the original sketches. What caused Cooney and Morrisett to write in the characters of Big Bird and other Muppets was the realization that Sesame Street didn’t ‘stick.’
The sports game has drastically changed. Yes, fans still root for their favorite teams and wear their lucky jersey on game day, but off-the-field, sports teams have shifted from traditional marketing strategies and advertising models toward more progressive and hands-on approaches.
With an ever growing demand by consumers for engagement and relevancy, the sports industry has responded by taking marketing and creativity to new levels. As a result, the sports industry has opened up new partnership opportunities and ways to connect with fans.
Reactive and Proactive
In 2010, the top 50 advertisers in sports spent a combined $6.6 billion on sports advertising, up 27 percent over what the top 50 companies spent in 2009 and 22 percent more than 2008 (SportsBusinessJournal.) So what changed? While we may not go so far as to say everything, a clear change was the way that the sports industry approached fan engagement and the creative process.
Although social networks Twitter and Facebook started in 2004, the sports industry only began catching up with it around 2008. Although ‘late to the party,’ sports teams quickly began to turn their attention toward the digital space and social networks because of the intriguing opportunity that they offered. Prior to the ‘new digital age,’ sports advertising and marketing online revolved around advertising opportunities where success had a clear definition. From traditional advertising campaigns that focused on the PPC/CPI/CPM model and standard sponsorship titlement of web assets, sports teams played it safe when it came to online marketing and advertising, with creativity often found only in offline opportunities.
If you’ve followed the advertising and marketing industry news of late, one item that might have caught your eye is the growing number of brands reviewing their media buying, advertising and brand representation. From Jaguar Cars moving their 6 year, $100 million global account from Euro RSCG Worldwide to Spark44, to Disney Media ending their decade long relationship with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, long-term relationships between brands and those who represent them are coming to a close. Just how the number of players who stay with one sports team their entire career is diminishing, so is the number of brands that stay with an agency for an extended period of time. “Do it all” agencies that once handled the branding, public relations and marketing for large brands are seeing their responsibilities broken up and divided amongst several different agencies.
So what is the cause? What is causing brands like Disney and Harley Davidson (Former agency: Carmichael Lynch) to reconsider the future of their advertising, marketing, and entire branding? The answer is specialization.
Specialization is defined as “the act of making something suitable for a special purpose.” In the case of the “do it all” agencies, specialization is a word that can be hard to come by. Because of the growth and speed of information and content in the digital space, there is an accelerated market adoption rate when it comes to new products, messages and brands. This has led to the the need for agencies with quick turnaround times without the sacrifice of quality.
Eggs. If you are just starting to learn how to cook, they are probably the first thing you will try your luck at. From hard-boiled to scrambled, deviled to fried, everyone has their own special way of preparing eggs. Still, the unique aspect of eggs is that although they are relatively simple cook, it’s quite difficult to perfect.
Ideas are much the same. Everyone can have think up an idea, but executing it and producing positive results is difficult. There plenty of books out there that talk about ideas, but just how there are many recipes on how to make the ‘perfect’ egg, its less about the steps and more on the detail of the execution.
Paying Attention To Detail
English mathematician and philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead once said that “we think in generalities, but we live in detail.” His words not only resonate in our daily lives, but they also paint a clear picture of how ideas are formed and evolve. Too often do we assume that having the ‘right idea’ is all it takes that we forget that it’s the details that make an idea relevant and impactful. To fully understand this, we re-visit the egg comparison.