Who doesn’t love the Muppets? We all likely carry a Muppet memory from childhood. (Mine involves singing “The Rainbow Connection” for my first solo in 4th grade. I can still taste the utter terror…but I digress.) Today I stumbled upon the original pitch to CBS network execs for a new thing called “The Muppet Show”. After thoroughly enjoying this (the video is below), it struck me that we advertising/marketing folks can learn a thing or two from this pitch.
It grabs attention off the bat. It gives a value proposition…or ten. It links the story to the target, and it tells a visual, engaging and fun story. Perhaps most importantly, however, it stays true to the core strength of the message it’s trying to relay. It doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It’s silly, as it should be, because that’s what the Muppets are. Can you imagine pitching this show any differently? This pitch allows the creators to tap into their innate ability to make us laugh at ourselves and at this weird world we all share. And in doing just that, this pitch effectively gets the job done.
There’s a lesson in this. How many times do we go to pitch and feel like we have to be something we’re not? Adaptation and flexibility are great, but not at the expense of our core strengths. Yes, rule numero uno is to always know your audience. But I think equally as important is to know your agency’s personality and always be true to that. Dig deep, and examine this potential relationship. If the audience’s core values and the agency’s don’t mesh, well, it may be time to examine if it’s something to spend time and energy on. Without this honest evaluation, we run the risk of mismatched cultures, expectations and a lot of wasted energy on both parties’ parts. Bottom line: sometimes pigs and frogs work together wonderfully, despite the oddness. But sometimes, oddball combinations that go against the grain can create a complete disaster.
It’s okay to know what you’re good at, and then rock the hell out if it. And it’s also okay to walk away if it’s not the right fit. After all, we all can’t appeal to the “freaky, long-haired, dirty, cynical hippie” demographic. (see video below.)