“Good work sycophants”: Sesame Street does Mad Men

The writers at Sesame Street are obviously staying hip with the times – or at least with early 60’s Madison Avenue. Here’s their send-up of Mad Men, sale using Don Draper and company to teach kids about emotions. Catch the irony there? The most emotionally repressed character on television since the Professor on Gilligan’s Island… yeah, viagra I guess you get it.

The lesson for branders

  • Respect the role of emotion in your branding.
  • All right, you caught me. That’s a stretch, and I’m slumming it with this one. It’s actually just for fun.

    True, it’s not as hilarious as the Sesame Street bits I watched in my own kindergarten  days, but of course, at that age I used to break into giggles at the word “armpit”.

    The funniest line by far is right at the end, when the Draper character says “good work sycophants”. I’m pretty sure that’s not aimed at the kids, but at the adult in the next room. But then, isn’t that double-barreled approach what made Sesame Street so brilliant?

    Wait! Maybe that’s a real branding lesson after all

  • Target your brand to a specific audience, but don’t forget the “boss” in the next room who “holds the remote”.
  • What do you think? Still a stretch? Are there other pearls of branding wisdom hidden in this simple piece?

    (Props to the great industry blog BrandFlakes for Breakfast for posting this video last week).

    2 thoughts on ““Good work sycophants”: Sesame Street does Mad Men”

    1. I love this. I did not know that Sesame Street did pop culture parodies.
      Actually, I guess they did when we were little too. Remember the song “Letter B, Letter B”?
      That was a good one. Funny when you know the parody before the original. Same thing happened for me with The Shining. Did not see the original until after I saw the Simpson’s version “That’s funny, the blood usually gets off on the fifth floor”.

      1. This “parody / tribute / commentary” thing on Sesame Street has always been there, but it’s becoming more and more obvious. This one uses the Mad Men name, the graphics, the character names and the setting, where “Letter B” (“whispering her sweet “B” words” is a favourite line ever) or “This is my J” only used the words and lyrics. And ah the Simpsons. A topic for another day. But blogger friend Nancy Friedman did a great catalogue: http://nancyfriedman.typepad.com/away_with_words/2007/06/simpsons_brando.html

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *