Lessons of “Simpsons” marketing: Clip and save

Posted by Rob Walker on July 25, 2007
Posted Under: Authority & Expertise,Sustenance

I’ve been reading with great interest the various marketing gurus talking about the brilliant campaign preceding the movie version of The Simpsons. I make no predictions about anything, such as whether the film will actually do well. But if it does do well, here are a few secret ingredients that — so far as I know — the experts haven’t mentioned yet. These, in other words, are the “lessons” you can apply to your film or brand. I’m revealing them to you now! Are you ready? Here goes! You heard it here first!
1. Prior to the release of your film, create a successful television program.

2. Do this many years before TiVo, or the widespread availability of 200-channel digital cable packages, or Mosaic (that’s Netscape kids; do people still know what Netscape was?) and all that it begat.

3. Enlist an authentic creative genius to actually invent your show.

4. The creative genius should be a known (and revered) quantity among certain audience members because of his work in something that was called the “alternative press,” which was kind of like the “niche culture” thing that today’s gurus talk about, but back before it had made its way into the marketing lexicon.

5. Make sure the show stays consistently strong — for 18 years.

6. Do this in a way that continues to attract new generations of viewers who have absolutely no idea what pre-Web culture was like — but without alienating those viewers who do.

7. By the time your film/product is released, make sure that the above-mentioned groundwork has woven your TV show deeply into the American pop psyche, so that its various catch phrases and references can be used universally, and without explanation, in almost any situation.

That’s it!

Once you do those seven things, you should be set. Good lessons! Apply them well!

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Brilliant! I’ll get started today.

A marketing plan similar to that I suggested to a friend recently returned for a couple of years in Japan. Asked him last night what he planned to do now, and he started with “I think I’ll get really famous.” So I suggested that he marry Lindsay Lohan. (Lindsay then proceeded to come up every 10 minutes on the TV in the restaurant, so he could evaluate that option.)

Written By chip on July 26th, 2007 @ 11:35 am

Excellent tips, thanks Rob.
It’s gonna be a cinch now!

Written By Dino on July 26th, 2007 @ 4:43 pm


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