Cartoon series fans have had a love-hate relationship with ‘Family Guy’, the brainchild of voice actor, writer and producer Seth MacFarlane. Although the show has built a large fan base, not a lot of people know about its tumultuous past, being resurrected not once, but twice.
Recently, the show has been generating buzz again due to the passing of one of its beloved characters, Brian Griffin, the anthropomorphic family dog. Whether it was a marketing plot to boost ratings or simply an inevitable storyline fate, ‘Family Guy’ can give insights to marketers on how to effective connect with an audience:
1. Cater to the true fans
Throughout its run since 1999, the show has never tried to get the affection of everyone, unlike its rival shows such as The Simpsons. Rather, it focuses on entertaining those which appreciate the nature of the show, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who would determine the success in TV ratings, not the non-fans.
2. The power of free content
The history of ‘Family Guy’ is educational to every marketer who is trying to attract attention online with free content. Despite being cancelled in 2000 and again in 2002, Fox was convinced to bring the show back. And the reason is un-ignorable: strong DVD sales. If people are more than willing to pay to own DVD copies, Fox (the show’s home station) would be a fool not to show it on TV for free and get tons of advertisers.
3. Where the real selling happens
Fox owns the intellectual property rights to ‘Family Guy’ and its wide range of merchandise is one of the primary avenues where revenue is generated. T-shirts, action figures, stickers, posters, video games, song clips, ring tones, name it. McFarlane gets only a percentage of these sales, but he’s not complaining. There are other ways he’s using the show as a money machine.
4. Delegating the strenuous tasks to others
It’s safe to say that ‘Family Guy’ started out as a one-man show; MacFarlane involved himself in every aspect. There were times when got burnt out. Now, he outsources much of the production of his shows, although he still voices three of the main characters, and even brings together the music. It goes to show that you don’t have to run the business by yourself; tapping external help, such as an outsourced lead generation services company, can take some work off your shoulders so you can focus on what you love most – running the business.