Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) is airing two commercials designed to remind viewers and promotional partners that Sesame Street is as vital and lively as it was when it first aired.
The spots, produced by Boston-based Smash Advertising, mark the first time CTW has gone to an outside ad agency to produce commercials.
‘Sesame Street has been around for 27 years, but it’s sometimes viewed as wallpaper,’ says Allyson Kossow Felix, vice president of marketing and communications at CTW. ‘There’s nothing wrong with reminding people that while the show is a classic, it’s just as cutting edge and appealing as ever, and it still works in an environment where there’s increasingly less quality programming.’
The spots are part of a long-range marketing strategy to increase Sesame Street’s brand name presence, look and standing with viewers and business partners in the crowded, competitive and often murky world of children’s programming. They air on PBS stations nationwide during all dayparts and potentially on cable TV.
The two spots starring Rosie O’Donnell as the letter ‘A’ and Gregory Hines as the number ’1′ mimic the style and spirit of the series. In each ad, the characters reflect on their individual importance in people’s lives and on Sesame Street.
Felix says that previous promotional spots for the series never reflected the show’s humor and appeal. ‘I wanted highly produced spots that did for Sesame Street what Sesame Street d’es for millions of people,’ she says.
Smash Advertising, a Boston-based agency specializing in broadcast promotions was hired to produce the commercials. Smash also produces ads for such networks as A&E, The History Channel, Court TV, TBS, TNT and has most recently been involved in launching NBC in Asia.
According to Smash’s vice president and creative director Linda Button, networks are increasingly turning to outside sources to find fresh ways to define their niche. ‘Over the last 10 years, networks have really started to focus much more