When you think of monsters, you probably are thinking more about a creature with fangs and claws ready to rip you to shreds than, say, Elmo. In the Matt Archer books, monsters are to be feared — they’re dangerous and up to no good. That’s not always how marketers see them, however. Why?
Let’s take a few steps back…to 1969. That’s when Sesame Street first aired on PBS. Since then, it’s gone on to spawn toys, movies, live shows and art supplies using its name. I remember lying on my stomach, staring up at our big console TV, watching my favorite monster–Grover–romp about with Oscar, Big Bird and Cookie Monster. These monsters were so friendly, they let a vampire live on their street. The Count was lucky Sesame Street didn’t have a home-owners’ association. Just saying. When a new, red furry monster moved to town, Sesame Street‘s already impressive popularity exploded. Elmo had arrived, along with his pet goldfish and his friend, Mr. Noodle. Elmo has suffered a few setbacks recently, but we’ll let those go by since this post is focused on a different point.
Monster-marketing works. Monsters are the sponsors of energy drinks and dry cereal. They endorse everything from applesauce to beef jerky. Anyone seen the “Messing with Sasquatch” commercials? Those crack me up. But it goes back to the idea that monsters sell. They aren’t portrayed as bloodthirsty demons; rather, they’re lovable, funny and endearing.
Why this obsession with monsters? I have a few theories–we want to explain the unexplainable, but also to shine a light on the darkness and say, “hey, that’s not so bad.” What about you? What do you think?