How You Can Make it as Big as ‘The Simpsons’
Well, maybe not AS big but at least give yourself a helping hand
‘The Simpsons’ is by far one of the most successful TV programs of all time. It’s been running since December 1989 and now stands as the longest running American sitcom. It’s won a whole raft of awards;
34 Primetime Emmy awards
34 Annie Awards
A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Ranked number 8 on TV Guide’s ‘50 Greatest Shows of All Time’
Named as ‘the century’s best television series’ by ‘Time Magazine’
The list just goes on and on and shows no sign of stopping as ‘The Simpsons’ juggernaut continues to rumble on.
We’re all familiar with the show and the characters and, love it or hate it, it has stood the test of time.
But how did it all start?
How It All Started
In the late 80s, producer James L Brooks was working on ‘The Tracey Ullman Show’ and wanted a brief segment of animated shorts before and after the commercial breaks. He approached cartoonist Matt Groening whose work he was familiar with.
Initially, Groening’s characters for the family were quite crudely and simply drawn and he assumed that they would be cleaned up in production. But the animators merely traced over his drawings.
Colorist George Peluse made the decision that probably gave the shorts their initial boost. It was his decision to make the characters their now familiar yellow.
When questioned, the show’s creator Matt Groening has said;
“Yellow skin: why… if you’re flicking around with your channel changer very fast and you zoom by The Simpsons there’s nothing else that looks like them on TV, so therefore we stand out.”
‘We stand out.’
How Did It Work?
It’s that simple. In a morass of shows on TV, with hundreds of channels to choose from, they needed something to stand out against the competition. Something that would give them an initial advantage over the other shows. Something that would make the audience stop for just a few seconds longer and pay attention.
And as it turns out, yellow is the most eye-catching color because of the way brighter colors reflect more light and stimulate the eye. Other cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants have employed the same technique.
Put your drink down and just think about that for a second.
The producers of the most successful show of all time had to find a way to stand out and make people take notice.
How Will You Stand Out?
Now take a look at what you’re doing. I’m guessing that because you’re on a platform like Medium, you want to write. Maybe you have a blog, maybe you do some freelance work?
Have you ever stopped to consider just how many people are out there trying to do the exact same thing as you? Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions.
Like most people on here, I’m guessing, I started a blog a few years ago and published my first post.
How many people saw it?
ZERO. Not one. Because my blog was ordinary and it remained ordinary until I stopped it a few years later.
And you are trying to get yourself a foothold in a super-competitive field.
How are you going to make yourself stand out?
Think of any competitive field that you want. Sports, performing arts, writing, music, comedy and look at those that are memorable. How many of them bring that little extra quirk to the table? Something you can remember them by?
Elton John has his trademark spectacles and outrageous fancy costumes.
David Beckham changed his hairstyle as often as his kit
Gordon Ramsay the chef, is notorious for his fiery temper
Kevin Pietersen the great English cricketer, used to dye his hair black and white
Gary Vaynerchuk the blogger, is described as ‘ a very loud and charismatic New Yorker’ famed for his crazy hosting of Wine Library TV.
Find Your Llama
I read a post on Medium recently from Zulie Rane ( This Brilliant Marketing Strategy Costs $0.12 ) about a gas station that had a llama to pet and was causing folks to stop, fill up , spend money petting the llama and then buying other goods.
Alison Prince, the teacher in the story saw the potential for adding something unusual but memorable to her online store purchases and began adding Laffy-Taffy to her purchases and sales went through the roof.
Because people had a reason to buy from her. Not because of a 12c piece of candy. They were now investing in an experience and it was memorable and Prince stood out from the competition.
I enjoy my job as a celebrant. It’s very rewarding, but I’m trying to find ways to make myself stand out. It isn’t enough any more to just be good at your job. There are hundreds of people who are good at their job. Why should they choose you?
There is a celebrant online who, whenever I see a picture of him, is wearing a floral patterned loud shirt. I don’t know how good or bad he is but I’ll bet £1000 that he gets dozens of repeat work. Not because he’s good, but because he’s memorable.
What can you do to make yourself stand out?
There are always going to be those talented few who don’t need any gimmicks or boosts.
But stop and consider the alternative.
You are swimming in a sea full of millions of other fish who all want the same thing as you. How are you going to make sure that you get it and they don’t.
When readers are metaphorically channel-hopping through Medium or any other online platform, how will you make them stop at yours?
Do something memorable, stand out.