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5 Digital Marketing Lessons To Learn From Calvin and Hobbes

Name a more iconic duo than Calvin and Hobbes? I’ll wait.

Sorry, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, but there’s a reason Calvin and Hobbes has been commonly cited as "the last great newspaper comic". From 1985 till 1995 writer Bill Watterson created the greatest masterpieces in comic strip history that has only grown in popularity, influence, and academic and philosophical interest over the years.

digital marketing lessons to learn from Calvin and Hobbes

Even though it’s been over 25 years since the final Calvin and Hobbes strip graced Sunday newspapers, Watterson's adventures with Calvin and his stuffed tiger will forever be lodged in our hearts.

Recently, we were reminded of the genius of Watterson. Aside from Watterson’s own connection to advertising, his work was funny, witty, and pretty profound for a cartoon, which got us thinking about what digital marketing lessons we can learn from his timeless creation? Here are just a few...

Think Outside the Box

Early on Calvin and Hobbes strips were constrained by mandatory layout requirements, however Watterson fought for more space and creative freedom to allow him to produce better artwork and more creative storytelling, such as the one below.

The same thing goes for digital marketing. Oftentimes you will need to think outside the box to grow your business. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Stay Authentic To Your Brand

Watterson undertook a number of worthy crusades during the decade in which he made the comic strip, including walking away from millions in product merchandising. Despite its popularity, he felt that merchandising would ruin the integrity and fullness of his characters, which was more important to him than any dollar amount.

In other words, don’t be a sellout. If you feel your brand has an authentic voice then honor it by staying true to what you believe in. You might get criticism from some, but others will respect you for it. Watterson knew what his brand was and what it stood for and never veered off-brand. He stayed true to his purpose.

Be Original

There will never be another Calvin and Hobbes. Just the absurdity of a hyper-imaginative six year old boy with an expansive vocabulary, discussing everything from mortality to the perils of mankind's self-destructive behavior with his pet tiger, who may or may not be real, in a fun fantastical world of boundless imagination is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that can never be repeated.

When it comes to digital marketing, standing out from the crowd can give you a competitive edge over your competition. Be original. Don’t be like the rest. Embrace what makes your business unique and set it apart with creative branding solutions as unique as you are.

Use Humor

Calvin and Hobbes was complex and thought provoking, but at the end of the day, Watterson used the strip to give us chuckles, because laughter is a universal connection.

Humor is also an incredibly powerful ally for your business. Audiences can relate to the lighter side of life when you create a humorous experience for them. Not only does it break down walls, but makes your brand or product highly memorable as well.

Good Content Lasts Forever

Just like the legacy of Calvin and Hobbes, great content will stand the test of time. Whether it’s an almost forty year old cartoon illustration, or great marketing campaign, the results can be incredibly powerful and enduring. After all, things of quality have no fear of time.

Need help implementing some Calvin and Hobbes strategies into your marketing campaign? Don’t worry. DS&P specializes in customer-driven content marketing that is not only personalized for your target audience, but also aids in humanizing your brand to potential and existing customers. Reach out today about our many different marketing solutions.


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