It all started with a simple tweet. Or at least on the surface, it appears that way.
Carly Rae Jensen’s “Call Me Maybe” has been the smash hit song of the summer, if for nothing else but the ease of its spoofability. And just about every brand you can possibly think of has jumped in on the spoof action in hopes of going viral. Including … Sesame Street.
When I saw someone in my timeline retweet this from @SesameStreet back in mid-June, I wasn’t surprised. I was, however, laughing hysterically. Out of all the spoofs out there, this one struck the funny nerve.
Sesame Street got what it wanted from me. I retweeted it myself. Then I followed the account.
And then, this morning, just a little less than a month later, this tweet appeared in my timeline from Sesame Street.
The link goes to this remarkably produced spoof video. (If you have about three minutes to spare, it’s worth a watch.)
So, which came first? Was the initial tweet back in June really just a ploy to test the interest levels of potentially producing the video? Or were the folks at Sesame Workshop surprised that a harmless, silly tweet went viral and decided to capitalize on it?
We’ll never know for sure without talking to someone at The House Jim Henson Built. The bigger question is: Does that really even matter?
Here’s why it all works, no matter which came first, the tweet or the video.
- It strikes a nostalgic chord. Many parents of children who are currently watching Sesame Street are the same ones that grew up with all the loveable characters themselves – Big Bird, Oscar, Grover and Cookie Monster. The fact that viewers of the show aren’t old enough to tweet themselves (or at least we hope not anyway) doesn’t matter. This was targeted directly at toddlers’ parents. And it works.
- The title is a call to action. Share It Maybe? Really? Of course we’re going to share it. Just like we shared the Muppets’ version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” a couple of years ago when it first hit YouTube and we all flocked to theaters at Thanksgiving time to see “The Muppets” movie. (There’s still a part deep down inside of me that wishes the original tweet’s “Gimme, maybe?” would have stuck. Of course, I was also adverse to Cookie Monster promoting fruits and vegetables, not for health reasons but for sentimental ones.)
- The video closes with more action items. If you watch the video in its entirety, you’ll see that the final 30 seconds are really a closing credits screen … full of things for parents to do. Like this video? Then you’ll want to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you won’t miss our next one! Want more Cookie Monster? Here’s a link to his playlist! And, to top it all off, one more tip of the nostalgic hat with the “C is for Cookie” song in the embedded window. (If you can manage not to get that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day now, let me know.)
Emotional and nostalgic nerves struck. Calls to action clearly identified. Taking advantage of two viral phenomenons – both the initial tweet and the concept of spoofing the song of the summer.
That’s why this video should probably be renamed “Share It … Definitely.”
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I already retweeted it.