Remember the ka-fuffle last fall when AMC went apeshit over the “unauthorized” use of Mad Men characters on Twitter? While AMC has learned a thing or two since then, there is still a huge abyss in the entertainment industry … a black hole of ignorance when it comes to marketing in the digital age. And yet, one of the best lessons on digital marketing I’m told comes from the land of preschool entertainment via Australia’s uber popular group, The Wiggles. The Wiggles – Jeff, Murray, Anthony and Sam are 4 middle-aged men who once upon a time were early childhood ed grads with musical backgrounds. Three of today’s current line up came up with the wacky idea of combining entertainment with education. This collaboration also begat a host of (insert gag reflex noise here) characters, Captain Feathersword, Dorothy The Dinosaur and Henry the Octopus. The Wiggles tour the world almost constantly, with an itinerary that would make the Rolling Stones jealous. But go to a Wiggles concert and you will see, up close and personal, this amazing marketing wizardry at play. When the curtain rises, and the preschoolers and mommy groupies scream themselves hoarse, the Wiggles make their introductions followed by their policy on recording and broadcasting. Going completely against the rock star grain, they ask the children and parents to please take as many photos and videos as they can, and encourage them to share their images on the Internet, on places like YouTube. Those savvy men in their weird primary coloured outfits know that the more kids and parents share, the more others around the world will be sharing the Wiggles entertainment experience.
The Wiggles get a huge thumbs up for that move. How better than to turn the world into a powerful marketing machine? To let their fans do the heavy lifting – a stroke of genius that even a digital marketing toddler can appreciate. Allowing their fans to become brand evangelists says more about the Wiggles franchise than the Wiggles themselves can – in fact, it’s a page borrowed from a slightly older army – one the grandparents will remember – the KISS army. The more people who are in the “club” the more meaning and weight is given to the brand. Doubt my story? I read that last year the Wiggles raked in over $60 million dollars. Okay that’s not the $270 million bucks I’ve heard bandied about as the Rolling Stones annual income, but the Wiggles costume wardrobe might only amount to 2% of Keith and Mick’s.
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