I was sitting in my boyfriend’s new apartment staring at his choice of decor. There was Duke gear all around, the inevitable couple’s picture frames set out, some inspirational posters, and then there was huge Space Jam poster (framed, by the way) hung up in the center of his living room. This poster obviously stuck out like a sore thumb in the room, and this movie was made back in 1996 when I was born, so why was it important enough to be front and center in his apartment?

I got to thinking about why certain movies/books/etc. become these timely classics that end up being cherished for years after they were created. What makes a classic? 

Why is this even important? The classics are what branding today was founded upon. Content was delivered in a way that was different, unique, and ultimately stuck with people. Approaching marketing from a mindset of potentially creating something timely and unlike anything before it is a challenge the industry should want to take on.

Take it from Italo Calvino, who was an Italian journalist, short story writer, and novelist. He came up with 14 Criteria For What Makes A Classic. This article describes why certain books made the cut of a classic, and I think his logic could apply to really any form of content today.

Let’s take his #1 criteria for example: “The classics are those books about which you usually hear people saying: ‘I’m rereading…’, never ‘I’m reading….'”

To me, that says two things: quality content and awareness. Something every marketer should strive for. We shouldn’t just push content to push content and get numbers. We should put quality content out there, and spread awareness about it. After that, the content should speak for itself.

Or how about his #14: “A classic is a work which persists as a background noise even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway.”

No matter what the noise in society is, create your campaign anyways. Push the limits anyways. It may seem weird, and that’s a good thing.

I’m not saying you will create the next Space Jam or To Kill A Mockingbird, I’m saying you should approach everything you market as if it has the quality of a classic, and make sure the content actually lives up to the expectation.

Everyone has a different definition of what a classic is, and that’s okay. That just means everything has a different target audience behind it.

It’s actually pretty cool (or just good marketing) that there are Space Jam posters are hung up in 23 year old men’s living rooms if you really think about it. Allow your content to be different… and “get ready to jam.”

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