Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Post #5: What Jim Henson can teach us about marketing

I have been a muppet fan for as long as I can remember. One of the most tragic days of my life, however, is when I watched Muppets Take Manhattan for the trillionth time and really dug the scenes where Kermit (aka Phil Phillip Phil) is working for an amphibian-owned and run advertising agency.

Youth, where art thou?

Still, I've been thinking a lot about those scenes and then other general Jim Henson knowledge, and I've decided that marketers and people in general can learn a lot from the muppets.

You don't believe me, huh? Or you just can't believe I'm doing this to your muppets. I sympathize. But take a look.

Remember yesterday when I was pondering whether we can really talk human? Jim Henson was already covering that topic close to 30 years ago. "you mean just say what the product does? Nobody has tried that!":

In the same movie, Kermit and the rats start a "whisper campaign" to spread the word about Manhattan Melodies. In this case, they literally are whispering, but isn't that the same general concept as Twitter or Facebook or any other Social Media campaign? It's all about word-of-mouth, even if you are using your fingers.

Jim Henson can teach us about the fact that great advice for one person (or a great product) might not work for everybody, even if they seem to be in the same demographic. Check out the Sandy Duncan portion of this clip:

Of course, I wouldn't be recommending that we look to Jim Henson as an example if I didn't have proof that he actually followed his own advice. Jim had to be a marketer of his imaginative ideas, and imagine trying to pitch a show where a frog and pig are the leading characters! Here's how he did it:

Yep, he definitely said what he meant.

Of course, one could also argue that Rainbow Connection could be equated to a modern day Facebook page (join the lovers, the dreamers, and me). But we won't go that far, will we?


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