Arrested Development marketing lessonsWe have to admit, when COSO Media heard the news of the return of one of our favorite shows, Arrested Development, we were ecstatic! Although the popular TV series has been off the air since 2006, the fourth season came back in true Bluth style. After watching a few of the new episodes, we realized that there was a lot to learn from the Bluth family about business: both good and bad.

1.  “They are not tricks, Michael, they’re illusions” – Gob.

Gob (pronounced like Jobe), the Bluth family’s eldest son, is a magician. Not one the Bluth’s take Gob’s career seriously, which is why he continually reminds them that his ‘magic tricks’ are illusions. Marketing works in the same way. Your marketing campaign should never trick people into doing business with you. Instead, creatively devise a marketing plan that will make your audience ‘ooohh and ahhh’ over your products. Marketing strategies should be engaging and pull your audience in. They need to give the illusion that if you choose their product, they will never be disappointed.

2.  Lucille: He’s had business classes.

             Buster: Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait. 18th-century agrarian business, but I guess it’s all the same principles. Let me ask you, are you at all concerned about an uprising?

In the very beginning of Arrested Development, Buster Bluth, the youngest son and “mama’s boy” tries a hand at running The Bluth Company. Although Buster has never held a job, he has taken business classes in 18th-century Agrarian business. Buster quickly becomes overwhelmed trying to run the family business and quickly passes it over to Michael.

Marketing in today’s digital age changes and evolves faster than most of us realize. As a result, marketers are constantly revamping their campaigns, evolving their branding and reinventing themselves. Textbook marketing techniques are now yesterday’s ideas and concepts. In order to stay ahead in your industry (or at least keep up), business’ need to quickly adapt to new digital marketing techniques, while building upon yesterday’s.

3.  Explore new platforms for your business

When Arrested Development aired the final episode of season 3, fans felt as though they had just experienced an awkward breakup with their favorite comedy; however, they quickly realized they could keep their longstanding relationship with the Bluth Family through other platforms and formats, such as DVDs. While many fans hoped for a movie, a new viewing platform was created: Netflix. Soon Arrested Development found a new way to attract new and old fans and also rebranded themselves. Netflix is a streaming platform that did not exist back in 2006 and has now become as mainstream as cable.

Innovation and exploration are a major part of digital marketing. While it is difficult to judge whether a platform concept will be successful for your business, it is important to try. Strive to go outside of what your competitors’ are doing; being daring could prove to be successful

    4.  “There’s always money in the banana stand” – George Sr.

During the first season, George Sr. repeatedly tells Michael that there is always money in the family banana stand “The Top Banana”. However, Michael’s son, George Michael, sets the banana stand on fire. Michael later finds out that George Senior kept $250,000 in the walls of the banana stand as an emergency fund.

The banana stand burnt down quickly along with $250,000. Your brand could quickly lose its luster too. However, learn from the Bluth family: you can always bounce back. Just because a campaign was not successful or even hurt your brand, keep your head up and try again. Marketing is a unique science and art. It takes experimentation to find what works best for your brand

5.  “I’ve made a huge mistake” – Gob

Gob’s most used line –“I’ve made a huge mistake” that even other characters adopt throughout the series. Although all of the Bluth’s have made multiple mistakes, they outwardly admit their mistakes and overcome them.

Not every campaign, branding strategy or web design project your company creates will be a huge success. It is important to come to terms and understand why this was a flop. From there continue to build from the bad and over come it. The key is to not dwell, but to grow. If the Bluth family members can move on, so can you.

6.  Tell a great story that has room to grow

Arrested Development is a pioneer in comedy series that builds upon itself and by the end, results in a cohesive story. Within each season we watch the Bluth’s all sit around and enjoy the family’s wealth, while Michael tries to keep them all together and grow the business. The writers take the viewers on an engaging, funny, and interesting journey that you cannot take your eyes off of. No matter how ridiculous the story or characters become, fans feel connected to the story. So much so, that they brought the series back for a fourth season.

Your marketing campaign should do the same. Tell an engaging story with your marketing campaign. Have each campaign tell a unique story that comes together in the end. The campaign needs to capture the attention of your target audience and hook them on a great story. They should want to be apart of your brand. With each new campaign stay innovative and different, while slowly building upon the last. This will keep customers and fans invested in you.


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