The Idea EnthusiastThe Idea Enthusiast

Finding new wrinkles at Puppy Bowl

by Greg Roth

My internet friend, Jay Acunzo*, has a saying I’ve seen a bunch lately, in reference to both products and content marketing: “When something works, don’t do more like it. Do more with it.”

I thought of this when I read this behind-the-scene article in the LA Times about Puppy Bowl. Now, in it’s 14th year, the simple idea of pointing a few cameras at dogs all day has become an institution unto itself. It started as a pretty simple idea: “a novelty counter programming experiment” inspired by the annual holiday Yule log that has grown organically over the years.

How? well, a passage in this story eludes to a couple keys: observation and attention to detail.

As the show has grown in popularity and evolved from pop culture curiosity into cherished tradition, producers continue to look for new ways to up the ante. This year’s game will be played in a brand-new “stadium” and include barnyard animal cheerleaders, a sloth referee and a kitty halftime show inspired by Justin Timberlake. The first ever “Dog Bowl,” featuring mature canines in need of homes, will air on Saturday night.

[Showrunner Simon] Morris, who is British and thus not necessarily inclined to watching American football, keeps up with NFL games for creative inspiration. He plots seemingly inconsequential yet critical details — like where to find toys small enough for the littlest puppies to pick up with their mouths. The action is captured by a dozen or so cameras, placed on the end of sticks coated in peanut butter (so-called “lick cams”), underneath glass water bowls and in the end zone to catch every touchdown and field goal.

Notice that Animal Planet hasn’t developed a bunch of similar programs. They’ve left that to Hallmark Channel’s “Kitten Bowl” and Nat Geo Wild’s “Fish Bowl”. Instead they’ve focused on making their flagship event better each time.

Even long after you’ve achieved success, there’s still opportunity to improve. Often, organizations call this innovation, which it isn’t. It’s simply evolution. If you are good at evolution, innovation isn’t as important. You can do more with one great idea than you can with a dozen in-name-only innovations.

Watch and critique. details matter.

*- Jay and I have emailed but not met in person.

Greg Roth
About Greg Roth
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.

No Comments

Finding new wrinkles at Puppy Bowl