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Don't Be TV, Be HBO

A friend and I were discussing the current season of Boardwalk Empire the  Scorcese directed HBO drama starring Steve Buschemi, that takes place in Atlantic City in the 1920's. He was going on and on about how much he loved the show and loved HBO as a station, saying that they had perfected the "Seinfeld" model which was paramount to their success. If you remember in 1998 "Seinfeld" creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David decided to end the wildly successful sitcom while it was still at its peak and Jerry Seinfeld himself was making a million dollars an episode. At the time everyone thought they were crazy but the show has made more money in syndication than anyone could ever imagine, Larry David has gone on to create another successful franchise in his hit series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" which is also in syndication and Jerry Seinfeld is content collecting fat syndication checks and doing the once in a blue stand up gig.

HBO has made an art form of this technique. Ending one franchise at its peak while beginning another one for fans to transfer to. Boardwalk Empire caters to all of the fans who missed the gangster styling of Sopranos, Entourage comes to an end and they have "How to Make it in America" to fill its slot a cult following of a show like "Deadwood" is replaced by a "Game of Thrones" and the list goes on. Which got me to thinking "why can't the same be done with Ad campaigns?

Throughout advertising and branding history there have been campaigns that have captured our imagination and attention and have become part of popular culture. Examples of this would be The Maytag Man, The Geico Gecko and the Geico Cavemen, Dominoes Pizza Noyd etc. These campaigns were so popular that they became part of our everyday worlds and our entertainment psyche. Through merchandising, product placement, and even song these campaigns and others were "syndicated" and are as or more valuable to the brands now then they were when the campaigns were in full swing. Pan Am has such a strong brand that it's been resurrected as a hit TV series starring Christina Ricci almost 20+ years after going out of business. These brands have also been able to launch other successful campaigns while the syndicated campaign is still relatively popular.

Granted syndicating a campaign is not as easy as a television show. The campaign or brand itself has to be very popular and already somewhat infused into the culture.  Also you must have a solid follow up campaign to continue pushing your brand message forward while the syndicated efforts act as an anchor for your brand. Doing this correctly will make your brand HBO and not TV.

 @vpgutzmore

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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Cable, Curb your Enthusiasm- Syndication, Seinfeld, Sopranos, Television, Boardwalk Empire, HBO, Larry David

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