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September 6th, 2013

Twitter Me Elmo



Hey, kids! Today we’re going to talk about “things Sesame Street can teach brands.” And I don’t mean the ABCs. (Thanks, spellcheck!) I’m referring to the iconic program’s ability to stay relevant, adapt with the times, and overcome 43 years of criticism – everything from “a day in jail” to Bert-and-Ernie-gate. Yes, this substitute parent (“watch while daddy naps”) has taken its fair share of shots on the furry chin. And it always manages to bounce back even stronger. Isn’t that right, Veggie Monster? (Mmmm, kale.)

One key to the Street’s success is how it continues to grow with technology as trends in education shift – more specifically, with the upcoming unveiling (Sept. 24th) of a series of mobile and online games that challenge children to problem solve. Because as technology changes, so does a brand’s customer’s needs. And rather than get left behind (I’m looking at you, Reading Rainbow), Sesame Street has remained a giant yellow step ahead, by:

  • Amplifying their social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. #oscarishomeless
  • Broadening their range to science, engineering, and physics. (K is for Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion.)
  • Continuing to capture the imagination of preschoolers. (And me until I was 9. Okay, 29.)

Because Grover knows that at the core of all this app-hashtag-going-viral-mumbo-jumbo is a kid with the power to turn it to SpongeBob Squarepants the moment it stops being entertaining.

And there’s the lesson to the kid in all our brands. To keep finding new, innovative ways to give the world a Coke. Or to promote your new Wendy’s flatbread sandwiches in “6 Seconds Flat.” Or to evolve into emerging technology like KitKat. (Break me off a piece of that smartphone?) Sometimes, you just need to rekindle your street smarts.