When it comes to celebrating momentous anniversaries, 25 is often considered a much bigger deal than 30, but the TV series Seinfeld has never been one to follow the rule book.
So Sony Pictures Television, which distributes Seinfeld globally, is kicking off an extensive yearlong 30th-anniversary campaign to celebrate Jerry Seinfeld’s sitcom, which made its NBC debut on July 5, 1989. The company has enlisted several brand partners who were memorably featured in the series, including Drake’s, Junior Mints, the New York Mets and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).
Seinfeld ended its run in 1998 after nine seasons, but it continues to be popular in syndication, streaming on Hulu and on other platforms like iTunes.
“The show has never been more of a fan favorite that it is now,” said John Weiser, president of first-run television for Sony Pictures Television. “The brand is continuing to grow organically, with its fans on every platform we’re on. The fan base has never been bigger, and we’re celebrating the fact that the audience is celebrating the show.”
In crafting the campaign, “one of the big focuses for us was how can we do things with this brand that feel fresh and modern but true to the show and how the fans talk about it,” said Andrea Murphy, vp of U.S. distribution and ad sales marketing at Sony Pictures Television.
On social media, Seinfeld fans “don’t really talk about [the show] in generalities. They talk about their favorite moment or their favorite episode,” said Murphy. The campaign, therefore, focuses on iconic brands and moments from the sitcom, “and gives fans a chance to talk about it with their friends.”
Junior Mints and Drake’s (whose Coffee Cakes and Ring Dings brands both received shoutouts on the show) created limited-edition packaging for the anniversary. The Drake’s packaging, which features a line drawing of Seinfeld’s apartment and show quotes about the brand on the box’s side panels, “was a really subtle but natural way to incorporate the brand,” said Murphy.
On the actual anniversary, July 5, the New York Mets will celebrate “Seinfeld Night” at Citi Field, where the Mets will host the Philadelphia Phillies. Jerry Seinfeld, who will throw out the first pitch, will reunite with former Met Keith Hernandez (who played himself in the Season 3 episode, “The Boyfriend”).
Given both the real and fictional Seinfeld’s love of the Mets, the partnership was “a natural fit,” said Murphy. “But it was figuring out, how do we make this night special, so it’s not just a logo on a big screen in a stadium, and it’s meaningful for the fans, and it delivers in a 30th-anniversary way? We’ve been talking close to nine or 10 months now about that night and really curating each moment.”
Attendees will also receive Seinfeld bobbleheads, and, between innings, there will be Seinfeld trivia and other activities inspired by the show, including a dance competition in the style of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine.
That same day, the New York City MTA will begin distributing Seinfeld-branded MetroCards, and a pair of Seinfeld trivia vending machines—one in New York (at Citi Field, then the Time Warner Center, then the Oculus), the other at L.A.’s Santa Monica Place—will give fans the chance to win branded merchandise (and take photos in the 3D pop-out Seinfeld couch behind it). A Seinfeld food truck will also make appearances throughout New York during the month.
The campaign also includes new promos and key art that celebrate the anniversary and the show through iconic objects from the series like the puffy shirt, black and white cookie and the eclair that George retrieved from the trash.
Sony has furnished the anniversary promos—at a variety of lengths (from 5 seconds to 30 seconds)—to all local stations airing Seinfeld, to promote the show on their respective networks.
The company also worked with one brand—Magnolia Bakery, which is offering its first ever black and white cookie, in honor of the show—that didn’t actually become popular until after Seinfeld was off the air. (The first Magnolia Bakery opened in 1996, just two years before the finale aired.)
The campaign, which has been in the works for two and a half years, is “a nice love letter to all the Seinfeld fans out there,” said Weiser.
Seinfeld and his castmates will “likely” be involved in other elements of the campaign’s anniversary celebrations, said Murphy, “but nothing that we can announce right now.”