Why the Saved By the Bell Reunion Was Great Content Marketing

Feb 19, 2015

Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show, did something recently that I never thought I would see again in my lifetime. This moment gave me such joy that it was almost embarrassing.

What was this momentous occasion? The Tonight Show visited Los Angeles in late January and early February, and assembled most of the cast of television classic Saved by the Bell. (If you are as excited about this topic as I am hit me on Twitter for some Saved by the Bell trivia.)

What made this magical eight minutes of late night TV so amazing was that Jimmy Fallon made a dream come true for all of us kids who were glued to every episode of Saved By the Bell in the late 80's and early 90's. Fallon, who is notorious for his YouTube gems, amazed and fascinated me. I watched the video three or four times.

Maybe it was more like 10.  But that was it.

The reunion was pure genius! Why?

First and foremost, I thought-as did many people like me-that this cast would never return to the screen together. But there they were: Mark Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mario Lopez back together on a set that looked like it was right out of Bayside High School. (Screech and Lisa Turtle were missing, but that seemed unimportant at the time.)

I was giddy.

Second and most importantly, this moment brought me to a place that all content marketers are after, a connection with a brand or story that runs deeper than any commodity or 30 second ad can. That show was a piece of MY story--as sad as that may be.

That is the Holy Grail for brands-making a connection to our consumers' stories in such a deep way that they want to come back again and again. For an example of this in the more tangible realm of consumer products, look at Apple.

Jimmy had me already but his Saved By the Bell stunt will keep me coming back, waiting to see what he pulls of next.

I'm not the only one who feels this way:

Saved By The Bell

Content Marketing has the ability to move us. It has the ability to change our minds like no other medium has.

Last year, my team at Bristol Motor Speedway asked for permission to interview a small number of our most loyal fans for what were to become content marketing videos. After weeks of planning and a lightning storm that nearly canceled the scheduled shoot, the interviews finally began at around 10 p.m. one night in June.

What happened next fascinated me.

With little coaxing or coercion, these 10 or so people showered our brand with the kind of admiration that a brand manager dreams about. Little cues in our simple questions spurred them on to drop line after line about how much our facility meant to them and their families.

My point is this: When it comes to brands that we love, all it takes is one trigger to set us off and get us gushing about the brand we love so much and what it has meant to our lives.

I talked about that Saved By the Bell Reunion for a week after it happened because of what that show meant to my childhood and my story. The same happened to the avid fans we interview in Bristol. Just being in the presence of the facility where so many memories were made drew out all kinds of emotion about the brand that I don't think they even knew they had.

Content marketers want to pull emotion out of their fans to showcase their story but what they really need to find are the small groups (tribes) that are already beating the drum for you.

Of course in the biz we call this "word of mouth." That's what Jimmy Fallon does so well.  Without forcing it, his team creates "word of mouth" moments that are magical. That's what marketers and brand should be in search of and working toward. Trust me, if you are not organically making these kind of moments with the products you produce, you will not be in business for very much longer.

I loved Saved by the Bell and by triggering that emotion, it sent me into a word-of-mouth frenzy. Find the people that feel the same way about your brand and give them a share button and a microphone and see what happens next.