On Sunday, May 8, 1988, two gunmen in ski masks entered Charles Schulz’s home through an unlocked door, planning to kidnap his wife Jean. The attempt failed when their daughter Jill drove up to the house, prompting the criminals to flee. It was an attempted kidnap-ransom which if pulled off successfully would have made the would-be wife snatchers very rich, for Schulz was one of the wealthiest entertainers in the world. At its height, Peanuts was published daily in 2,600 papers, 75 countries and 21 languages, helping the cartoonist rake in $30-$40 million per year in merchandise and endorsements. When Metropolitan Life Insurance licensed the rights to use the Peanuts as the cornerstone to their advertising campaign from 1985-2016, the deal was worth an estimated $12 Million per year. “Get Met, It Pays” made the insurance giant a household name. Met Life was now famous thanks to Snoopy and his pals; yet another example of marketers co-opting lightning in a bottle. There are three pathways to fame; Creative Genius, Great PR, and Purchasing it. Met successfully bought their way into some seriously cozy cultural currency.
Three decades later, the kidnaping attempt succeeded. Only this time, Apple has abducted the entire Peanuts gang and demanded an Apple TV+ subscription as ransom! When the pitchforks came out in the form of online petitions (maybe there’s something good about social media after all), Apple bowed to pressure forcing them to forge a partnership with PBS and broadcast it the old fashioned way. This year Apple is offering a 2 Day window to watch the beloved Holiday Special for free (then $6.99/month). Gee Thanks. You can bet it will only be a matter of time before they lock it up in the trunk for good.
“Costumes, candy, this classic special – Some things just scream Halloween”, Apple proudly announces on their Great Pumpkin splash page. Well – some things just scream corporate greed. Good Grief ! Is nothing sacred? We’re not simply talking about media that’s bough and sold, but content with heart and soul. The way advertising works best is at the point when we are immersed in our favorite content where Brands can put a stamp on our cranium by touching our hearts. What the sharpies over at Apple didn’t care to consider (or just didn’t care about) is that it works both ways, because we hate you now.
Dear Apple, in a desperate effort to buy your way into our hearts, you stabbed us in the back. For those who can’t afford an Apple TV+ subscription or that don’t want 19 streaming services, this is like going to your favorite stadium event and watching the Met Life Blimp get blown out of the sky by the Red Baron.
I don’ know about you, but all the candy in the world won’t get this bad taste out of my mouth.
Happy Halloween !!