Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Good Grief, A Character Generator From Peanuts

In exciting high culture news, there’s a Charlie Brown movie about to be released. 

(You can't say I don't bring you the most niche, serious, in-depth marketing stories here on Idle Advertising.)

One of the executions they’ve taken on to generate buzz around the film is “Peanutize Me”. It’s a (fairly simple) Peanuts-themed avatar generator; you can see a demonstration here:

And it’s a solid move when it comes to getting people interested, engaged and excited about the movie.


This is a simple point again, but “Peanutize Me” taps into one of the most important rules of social media. It’s an obvious point; it’s a point that no one should have to keep making.

Your content has to be something that people would be sharing even if it wasn’t your brand creating it.

That doesn’t mean “brand-generic”. It means “good”. It means genuinely engaging, genuinely funny, genuinely shareable.

People around the world love Peanuts. It was a great comic strip series, pushing boundaries, written insightfully, often impactful in so many different ways. And if nothing else, Snoopy is one of the most recognisable cartoon characters on the globe.

So there’s an obvious nostalgia element to play upon, a long-running affection for the characters and for the world created around them.

But just as importantly, people around the world love making themselves into cartoons.

(Humanity: we’re kind of vain.)

After all, a quick Google search will find you dozens of other examples of cartoon-isers, be it for South Park, for the Simpsons, or any number of othersMore to the point there already was a Peanuts-style character generator on the web before Fox's one. People use these things, unprompted by any brand. 

Case in point:

(Channeling my inner Charlie Brown.)

That’s the kind of engagement you have to shoot for. Far more impactful than any banner ad or paid social “boost”. If people would use and enjoy your content even if you weren’t trying to sell to them, there’s a much better chance that they’ll pay attention even when you are selling to them.

Now. It doesn’t mean you have to throw out the selling side of the equation. Far from it. But you have to make that sell move in lockstep with engaging content. You have to give people a reason to be involved.

It’s no one’s job to enjoy your brand message. It’s your job to make people enjoy it.

(Maybe I should start calling this “Deans’ Law of Social Media” and see if it catches on.)

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