Friday, September 19, 2008

As if you needed more reasons to love Sesame Street

It's no secret to most people who read this blog that my laptop is generally considered my third arm. An extension of my body, attached to me at all times. (Okay, sometimes replaced by my blackberry.) The boys love to try to "help" me type as I'm working away (I figure one day I'll be helping them with a procrastinated book report at midnight, right? So they might as well help me work on my marketing case studies now, don't you think?) and inevitably whenever the laptop is powered up, Graham will ask me to "play music." In Graham-speak, this means he wants to watch Sesame Street videos on YouTube.

He doesn't know yet to ask directly for YouTube (though he currently thinks most electronic music-playing devices are iPods) as I'm not sure I necessarily want to encourage his Internet fluency quite yet, I mean at least not until age three or four, right? But because I love that YouTube offers short snippets of video rather than entire episodes, I somehow feel in control of his TV-watching when it's on YouTube rather than "real" TV, so I always give in and take a minute to watch Elmo singing and dancing with letters of the alphabet and other Sesame pals. There is nothing like spicing up marketing research or PR strategy with a little sprinkle of the letter G singing and dancing with a red furry monster. I mean, it really gets the creative juices flowing! And yes, we LOVE Elmo at the Hawks house. (I mean, have you seen my Elmo cake creation from Graham's second birthday? I stayed up late and gave myself arthritis to get that thing done!)

And because we've now seen so many Sesame Street segments on YouTube, I've started to realize how beautifully the brains behind this 39-year-old beloved series have orchestrated parental interest into the programming (a.k.a. celebrities). My favorite Elmo video on YouTube right now is Andrea Bocelli singing Elmo to sleep. It is the kind of thing that I myself want to watch myself every night before bed, with or without my toddler. (Hey, it's Andrea Bocelli singing a lullaby! Who wouldn't want to fall asleep to that?! And by the way, I could probably fall asleep to anything! I have two toddlers, remember!?) Last week, Graham watched Andrea and Elmo on my laptop probably four times and cried because I wouldn't let him watch it a fifth time. Enter that control thing I mentioned before.

And it's not just Andrea Bocelli. In the mood for educational hip hop (who isn't?)? Just fire up Destiny's Child or Chris Brown dancing to songs about walking and street signs. Feeling more bluesy? How about Norah Jones' musical lament about why she misses the letter Y? Yes, marketing a musical act to mom through the goldmine that is Sesame Street is certainly savvy marketing. I am the sucker mom who, after hearing Andrea Bocelli singing Elmo a lullaby, totally powered up iTunes to see what adult-intended Andrea Bocelli classics I might be interested in. It works!

So, what's next? A product placement in our Clifford books? Well, hopefully not, but in the meantime the boys and I will continue to scan YouTube to catch celebs hanging with the Street gang and entertaining parents and toddlers. You know, those little people who will likely in a couple years know more about the Internet than I do today.

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