Can I just say that I am in mourning. And feeling just a weeeee bit old? For anyone who has been on some exotic tropical island over the last few days and hasn’t heard the news, I’ll fill you in: Davey Jones, 5’3″ teen heartthrob, lead singer of that iconic 1960’s group The Monkee’s , age 66, passed away this past week on February 29th of a heart attack. Can we have a moment?
I’ve loved the Monkees since the 3rd grade when I used to trade their Monkee cards on the school playground at recess, like I was running some illicit back alley card game. My ex father-in-law, may he rest in peace, would have been so proud. I kept those cards stacked neatly in my Monkee’s lunch box, with an official letter from the secretary of the Monkee’s fan club thanking me for my continuous letters to Davey taped to the inside lid. I still have their best of CD- which just sounds ridiculous considering CD’s weren’t even a glimmer in the Monkee’s eyes back then.
And when Davey Jones made a guest appearance on the Brady Bunch in 1971 because Marcia bet her best friend Doreen that she could get Davey to come perform for a school dance? Well. If I hadn’t channeled myself as Marcia Brady prior to that it was all over by that episode. My 12 year old inner Marcia became my alter ego. I don’t mean this to sound creepy in any way and my mental state as far as I knew remained intact, or at least has returned to normalcy in the last 40 years, but they were a joyous few fantastical years.
Watch how I skillfully weave this tribute into a marketing lesson:
Here’s the thing: The Monkee’s were a made for TV rock group, created by TV execs to cater to the Baby Boomer pre- teen set that was already glued to their TV’s in the mid 60’s watching Leave It to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, Gilligans Island, I Dream Of Jeannie, and oh so many more wonderful shows that shaped many of our childhoods. The TV execs knew where their audience was and they played right into it, creating a teen rock group a la the Beatles, Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones that would skew to a younger audience. And they were so right on! The Monkee’s TV show aired for less than 2 years, from September of 1966 to March of 1968, but during that time their music rocked the radio simultaneously (content marketing!), making the 10 Top Billboard Hot 100 List many times over, with I’m a Believer #1 in 1966 ( seven weeks), Daydream Believer #1 in 1967 (four weeks), The Last Train to Clarksville #1 in 1966, and my favorite of all time “Pleasant Valley Sunday” coming in at #3 in 1967. Merchandising their products went wild and their “brand” was formed, carrying their music well into the 70’s as some of the most iconic and classic, if not nostalgic, pop music ever produced.
It was all about smart marketing, and valuable content. Their music was good, the band was oh so cute and the timing was right. They were hitting us at all angles and giving us pre-teens what we needed at the time: our very own Beatles. We could be like our older brothers and sisters, with a band of our own. More digestible and less sophisticated, it was about us, not them.
Remember that when offering your services: make it about what your customers want, not about what you think they want, or what you want them to want. Make it about them, and the rest will follow.
RIP Davey Jones….he took the Last Train to Clarksville. I’m a Believer.