retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

A central tenet here on MNB since the beginning has been the necessity of paying attention to the broader worlds of popular culture, technology and business as a way of finding inspiration and innovation. My feeling has always been that I get a lot better sense of where the world is going by reading publications ranging from The New Yorker to Fast Company to Variety - as well as paying attention to an equally diverse range of websites, television networks, podcasts and newspapers - than I do by reading the traditional retail trade publications. I want my mind expanded, not limited by a kind of institutionalized epistemic closure.

Yesterday, I bumped into a perfect example of this kind of expansive, even hip thinking. And, go figure, I found it where the air is sweet. I found it on Sesame Street.

It's been awhile since I've watched "Sesame Street," but I caught up with a segment from the show on YouTube that showed exactly how with-it the show's writers are - because they produced a perfect-for-kids-but-also perfect-for-their-parents parody of "Homeland," the hit Showtime series. Called "Homelamb," it is absolutely pitch perfect, and hysterical … and all I could think of when I saw it was the fact that any parent who watched it with a child had to be enormously entertained. Which is all you can ask of a TV program.

BTW …speaking of being with-it, I am intrigued by the fact that later today, First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to do a White House press conference with "Sesame Street" characters Elmo and Rosita, plus representatives of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and the Partnership for a Healthier America. They're being mum about the exact subject, except to suggest that it is linked to the recent call by Mrs. Obama on the food industry to leverage the power of marketing to promote healthy products and decrease the marketing of unhealthy products to kids.

Whatever they're planning, it seems to be that if they want to affect how kids think about food, any team that includes the characters and attitude from "Sesame Street" and the savvy folks from PMA has a strong likelihood of creating a winning strategy.

Check back here tomorrow to see what they announced.

Betcha it'll be an Eye-Opener.

KC's View: