Yogi Bear and A Lament For Social Marketing Tricks

Via: Yowp
Via: Yowp

The Yowp blog is a favourite of this blogger because it not only does an excellent job of dissecting many, many early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, it also manages to dig up plenty of the associated marketing and promotional material related to them as well. A recent post concerned the celebrations of Yogi Bear’s ‘birthday‘:

Sure, the company began with the deals you might expect—for comic books, toys and records. And it grew from there. But a couple of promotions from the pre-Flintstone era at the studio (which is the focus of this blog, though we stray a bit) are admirable considering the coordination that was involved in pulling them off. One was Huckleberry Hound’s presidential run in 1960 (which combined comic books, cereal offers and personal appearances). The other is the Yogi Bear birthday party of 1961.

Driven By Data Not Desire

In today’s multi-media, web-enabled and YouTube-driven mediasphere, marketing has become a true science. Sure, advertising legend David Ogilvy knew as much back in the 50s, but even he always emphasised the art of marketing and advertising as being the most important element.

Google has since perfected the data-driven approach, wherein data on consumers is gathered and analysed until useful information is extracted. This information is then either used by Google itself, or sold to others for their use in advertising. Such trickery is superb at learning a consumer’s habits and also exploiting them.

The Decline of Social Marketing

The problem with data driven marketing and promotion is that it focuses much more on the individual rather than the collective. Just think about Yogi’s Birthday parties; they were designed to bring people together.

The feeling of being part of a community remains a very strong driver of viewing habits and fandom in general. The feeling that we are part of a group that shares similar tastes is far and away the biggest factor when it comes to how we determine which shows are our favourites.

Fans and fan-dominated social events (like conventions) are distinct from the kind of events that this post is talking about though. The former are geared towards existing fans whereas the latter are geared much more to potential fans.

The Future

Today, many of these potential fans congregate in the online space, either on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Such platforms are much more efficient and, from a studio or network’s perspective, much cheaper to advertise on than a physical event.

The problem is that as we head ever further towards a future where there is a screen for each individual, there will be a tendency to ignore the physical space in preference of the virtual one. On an adult level, this may not be an insurmountable issue, but for kids especially, it could spell disaster.

That’s not mere fear mongering either. Animated features in their current form depend on the social viewing experience of the cinema. If kids grow up preferring smaller screens with content tailored to their desires, what do you think that will result in?

Finding the Solution

Viewing content will always be social on some level or another. The challenge will be how to do so when technology that permits people to watch any time any where is the norm. Will it still be possible to gather a group of people together to watch something? Large events like the Super Bowl will be fine, but what about smaller animated TV shows? How about getting kids to watch shows in groups at home, will that become a challenge too?

All these remain somewhat of a mystery at this point in time, but one thing is for sure, if we do not find a solution, it will make for some radical changes to animation.

What would you do to stimulate social viewing of animated programmes? Leave a comment below with your idea!

Happy 50th Anniversary to Yogi Bear!

Via: Yowp

I must admit, it completely flew over my head that yesterday was the actual date, so it’s a bit of a belated celebration over here on the Anomaly blog. Nonetheless, we all make mistakes when it comes to this kind of thing and I was in fact, distracted by the review I wanted to do for Mary & Max.

So, yes, the Yogi Bear Show is 50 years old. My, my, it doesn’t seem that long since we celebrated the 50th anniversary of another famous Hanna-Barbera show. Clearly these were busy times for the studio, and it would shortly add another one to the mix with The Jetsons.

As usual when it comes to such cartoons, I must direct you all towards the Yowp blog, which has once again provided an excellent, concise piece on the show and its beginnings. There is little if anything I can add to an already well-written piece except to say that I did watch the show as a kid and although the distinct memories are a bit foggy, I can say with certainty that they are fond ones.

Happy (Belated) Birthday Yogi, here’s hoping that we may continue to be entertained by you pic-a-nic basket stealing antics.

The Upcoming Yogi Bear Film (I Don’t Like It, I swear)

Via: Cartoon Brew

Normally I try to stay away from speculation about a film, especially one that looks like its gonna be a stinker. However, sometimes this principle can be incredibly hard to stick to and I’m afraid today is one of those days.

What film has pushed me over the edge? Why it’s none other than Yogi Bear.

For months now we’ve been seeing more and more clips of this film being leaked (or indeed, promoted) on the internet. Cartoon Brew (and it’s readers) have been almost visceral in their contempt for the film. I don’t blame them either because those guys have some serious passion for cartoons, and seeing a classic one such as Yogi Bear get treated in such a way is disheartening to say the least.

This post isn’t so much a statement of my thoughts as a collection of other’s thoughts. (You probably don’t want to hear my thoughts, which delve waaaay to much into existentialism for this time of the morning anyway).

As mentioned above, most mainstream sites and bloggers have held no punches in their commentary. The main aspect that irks them is the hybrid nature of the film and the way that Hollywood has deviated from the nature of the original cartoons, focusing instead on fart jokes and other low-brow attempts at comedy, which, as a European, have never held that much sway with me to begin with.

As ever, the excellent, Hanna-Barbera blog, Yowp, has some great points relating to the direction that Dan Ackroyd and Justin TImberlake (how he got this gig I do not know) received during filming. If anything, I’d say this has as much to do with the quality of the film as anything else. Ackroyd may well be able to do an excellent impression of Jellystone’s most famous resident, but if he’s told to go in a different direction entirely, then that kind of ruins everything.

As a fan of classic cartoons, I know it can be extremely hard to see someone almost take a wizz all over your childhood memories. What people seem to forget is that they are exactly that, memories, and everyone has different ones. In the grand scheme of things though, if you’re making a film, there’s more often than not some executive breathing down your neck, and a film like Yogi Bear reeks of their meddling. There have been cases in the past of writers disowning their scripts as a result of the finished film being almost entirely different from what they originally wrote. That’s not what I’m saying necessarily happened to Yogi Bear, but it is a possibility.

At the end of the day, Yogi Bear was made to cash in on nostalgia, which as J.J. Sedelmaier has noted (sorry, can’t locate the source) is a powerful aphrodisiac. There’s nothing we can do except not going to see it, and from what i can gather, I am not alone in that sentiment.

The New Yogi Bear Movie

The Washington Post (my favourite US newspaper) has a pretty good list of why we already hate the thing despite it being months from release:


10. The new, winking double-entendre tagline (above) from veteran “That ’70s Show” writers who have made millions out of crafting winking double-entendre “one-liners.”

9. The continued crass and shameless plunder of the favorite cartoon shows from our childhood so a studio can turn a quick holiday-season buck.

8. The shameless plunder of a favorite cartoon show IN POINTLESS 3-D, so a studio can make 20-percent more quick holiday-season bucks.

7. The slick, soulless CGI “art” that goes with the double-entendre tagline.

6. The once-great Dan Aykroyd stooping to immediately challenge the still-great Bill Murray (“Garfield”) for the title of Cheesiest CGI Cartoon-Film Character to Be Voiced by an Esteemed “SNL” Alumnus.

5. The fact that the always-funny “SNL” host Justin Timberlake will make us enjoy the CGI Boo-Boo character at least a little bit, thereby eroding our self-righteous fit of pique.

4. The worrisome prospect that this could be the best available animated film to take visiting young relatives to during the holiday season.

3. The prospect that the swarming hordes of plastic tie-in toys will feel far less artificial than this film, judging by the trailer (below).

2. The realization that we will ultimately tithe 80 bucks for the film/3D glasses/toys that will line the pockets of the geniuses who wrote that winking double-entendre poster tagline.

1. The inevitable sequel: “Step Up Yogi 3-D: Electric Boo-Boo-ga-loo.”

It can’t be good for a film to generate this much antagonism thise far from its release. Can it really be that bad? Well, it’s hard to tell. All we’ve seen so far have been snippets that don’t really tell the full story. However, they do tell us enough in much the same way that the Tone-Loc tune in the Smurf’s teaser trailer does: it doesn’t raise our hopes much.