Smash Promotes Sesame Street Anniversary

Beyond ABC, 1-2-3: Campaign Touts Show’s Focus on Social Skills
BOSTON–To mark the 30th anniversary of Sesame Street, the Children’s Television Workshop in New York has unveiled a multimedia campaign using the tagline, “Friends for life.”
The work targets parents of pre-schoolers and seeks to convey the show’s heightened emphasis on social skills such as friendship and mutual understanding rather than strictly cognitive skills such as counting and grammar, said Linda Button, creative director of Smash in Boston, which crafted the ads.
One print execution shows a tiny girl reaching up to hold the yellow, feathered hand of Muppet mainstay Big Bird. The child’s eyes look to the sky, which contains the headline, “How high can you wonder?”
Another ad asking, “What color is friendship?” shows an African American girl giving a piggyback ride to the fiery red Elmo, one of the show’s most popular characters.
“Sharing, giggling, changing, growing. Big things are happening every day on Sesame Street,” reads the copy on both executions, which close with the show’s Web address.
“Sesame Street is an ongoing experiment in educational television” and the time had come to stress its pro-social content, Button said. An effort was also made to reinforce the emotional bond that parents and kids have with the show, she added.
Print ads have appeared in client publications; billboard and transit ads have begun going up in the New York metropolitan area.
Al Benditto, Bob Hoffmann and Barbara Nathan handled art direction. Colleen Conway wrote the copy.
A pair of 30-second TV spots broke last month on PBS stations nationwide. A “network buy” on commercial television for February sweeps is in the works but has not yet been finalized, according to one Smash executive. SFM Media in New York is handling media chores.
Additional media are still up in the air, and it is possible some TV time and print space will be donated, said Anna Maria Cugliari, vice president of strategic marketing and brand management for CTW.