“I think anybody who is writing finds he puts a little bit of himself in all of the characters” – Charles Schulz
The Peanuts Movie comes out November 6. I don’t have small children and I won’t go see this movie in the theatres. I don’t read parenting websites and even though I’ve always loved Charlie Brown I had no idea they were making this movie. I’m not exactly the target demographic.
So how did I find out and why does it matter? The new Peanutizeme.com tool allows you to, as Charles Schulz said above “put a bit of yourself” into the characters.
The creative team behind the movie marketing has created a tool that allows you to create your own Peanuts character. The spread of the tool and its creations across my social media streams has been lightning fast. That said, there are always lessons for marketers so stop having a good time and let’s get learning.
Lesson 1: Nostalgia Always Matters
Would we be talking about or seeing this tool if it were for the movie Pixels? Part of the reason this tool spread so fast and works so well is we all know who Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are. Most people don’t even know the little red haired girls name (it’s Heather, you’re welcome.) but we grew up with these characters and we understand them.
Think nostalgia isn’t relevant to creating connections with other people? #todayskidswillneverknow trended on Twitter for almost a week earlier this year. Even today you can find them coming in semi-frequently: #todayskidswillneverknow
Many Youtube videos have been dedicated to this topic and a quick Google images search for the hashtag shows every memory we ever had.
These nostalgic moments are like sharing your childhood with thousands of new friends. They know the struggle of rewinding a cassette tape with a pen. They understand the pain of the Blue Screen of Death. If we can identify people “like us” we can create associations with their pleasant and most unpleasant memories. Who remembers calling their crush to hear a parent answer. “Can I help you?” No, not really. But can you buy your daughter a cell phone?
Lesson 2: You Don’t Have to Be First to Be Remarkable
Peanutizeme is far from the first character creator online. Who remembers Custom South Park?
And if you say you haven’t Elf’d Yourself, I hardly believe you.
So why is the Peanuts character creator special? We’ve already put ourselves into shows, games, movies and videos we remember.
You don’t have to be first if your product, service or character generator is fun, shareable, useful or memorable. Google wasn’t the first search engine, Facebook wasn’t the first social media platform (neither was MySpace) and the Tesla Powerwall isn’t the first solar battery. First is a fantastic place to be but don’t give up if you weren’t the one. Would you rather own Google or Archie?
Lesson 3: Don’t Rely on One Tactic
The Peanuts Movie marketing team are using more than just Peanutizeme.com as a way to generate interest for their movie. The official website has a 1:44 trailer. They’ve created their own hashtag #peanutsmovie and many posters and character sheets for the movie.
The Photos section of the movie website also connects us with those nostalgic feelings. We see Snoopy chasing the Red Baron, Snoopy sleeping on his dog house, Schroeder on his piano, and Patty asleep in class. These are iconic and connect us to the story. We know the movie even without knowing the plot.
Woodstock (Snoopy’s best friend and personal secretary) live tweeted the Republican debate. Which sounds really risky until you remember Woodstock’s distinct writing style.
The Peanuts Movie marketers have done it all: sweepstakes, blimps, social media, content marketing, weekly trailer releases, animated gifs, photo, video, and more. Until today many of us hadn’t seen these other promotions. Don’t give up when one, two or five tactics don’t reach everyone you want to reach. Stay persistent and keep trying to reach those holdouts.
Conclusion & Lesson 4: Positive Awareness Isn’t Action
After researching the marketing behind the Peanuts movie I am very impressed with what their team has done. It’s catchy, fun, interesting and nostalgic marketing.
I still won’t see this movie in theatres.
You can’t convince everyone to take your desired action. I love this marketing campaign. I have temporarily changed my profile photo, I posted my custom Peanut on my wall. I spent a couple hours researching their marketing work and I’ve written almost 900 words about it. But I’m not the target demographic. I’m not going. You can’t get everyone to take the intended action even if they love you (my parents don’t like my Facebook page despite my requests.)
Will I watch The Peanuts Movie one Sunday afternoon next year when it’s on tv? I’ll never tell.