As people get older, habits change, routines break and relationships come and go. But one thing that’s pretty constant (at least in MY life and that of the millions other kidults!) are cartoons!
Anything animated, from the likes of the daytime re-runs of the Looney Tunes, more mature, up to date comedies like South Park and Archer, to the even weirder and twisted like Super Jail or Metalocalypse found on Adult Swim.
Here’s the thing; not so long ago, cartoons would find a certain niche, a certain demographic or psychographic that they’d like to tackle when wanting to land a prime spot on a children’s network, and exploit the heck out of it! Let’s use, As Told By Ginger for this example.
A not so good looking or popular girl, with equally freakish friends, from a single parent home, just trying to get by life one day at a time. You can already tell what the episodes were like; from wanting to be part of the cheerleader clique, to getting her first kiss and dealing with her parent’s separation. The show had a good run, and every teenage girl in a similar situation (which I assume is a lot) felt that emotional bond with Ginger.
Okay, so those were cartoons of the 90’s.
Today, I have come to realise cartoons don’t seek out their targets like they used to. They’re so utterly weird but brilliant, so specific and even terrifying, I sit and wonder how they managed to get green lit in the first place. And you think I’m talking about the more adult themed shows, but no! I’m talking about Adventure Time, Spongebob Squarepants and the Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Shows shown at 4pm, targeted for those school-going kids.
Shows like The Regular Show; where a blue jay and a raccoon work in park maintenance, alongside characters like a walking-talking gumball machine, an albino gorilla and a high-5 ghost, getting sucked into alternate dimensions and slacking off as much as possible. You know, the average stuff you went through when you were 12.
Cartoons today aren’t finding that gap in the market, or targeting those certain brand of kids anymore. They are not tackling teen angst or hormone imbalances. These cartoons just know exactly who they are and hope people will love them as much as they do. And one of the reasons they work is because they don’t try to second-guess what their audience likes.
Not everybody is going to love you and that’s okay! What better time to learn this vital message than as a kid? As long as you know who you are and what you stand for, that within itself creates a niche.
Is your brand staying true to what it really is?