Got a Preposterous Idea? Maybe Not!

Bear with me on this one. It may just make a major difference in your future. Would you like to be a millionaire … several times over?  If so, don’t be too quick to judge in the future. You just may pass up an opportunity to achieve stature you never believed possible!

I want to ask you a series of questions and I want you to pause after each to note exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. This will be crucial later.

What if I came to you and asked you to partner with me in a venture that would guarantee us financial success for the rest of our lives?

What if I told you it had to do with developing a cartoon character that would later lead to a television series that would be broadcast around the world?

What if I told you the TV series would lead to a successful movie that would appear world wide?

What if I told you we’d boast cameo appearances and voice-overs in the TV series and movie by such notables as Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Craig Ferguson, David Hasselhoff, Victoria Beckham, Alec Baldwin, Amy Poehler, Charles Nelson Reilly, David Bowie, Davy Jones, Dennis Quaid, Ernest Borgnine, Gene Shalit, Gene Simmons, Johnny Depp, Marion Ross, Mark Hamill, Pat Morita, Ray Liotta, Scarlett Johanson, Tim Conway, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and “Weird Al” Yankovic to name a few?  Not bad, huh?

What if I told you we’d enjoy merchandising and marketing tie-ins with products and companies such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Kellogg’s cereal, video games to boxer shorts, flip-flops, pajamas, t-shirts, slippers and radios?

What if I told you our popular merchandise lines would be sold at Hot Topic, Claire’s, Waldenbooks, Borders Books, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, KB Toys, Big Lots, Wal-Mart, Shopko, Meijer, Kmart, Sears, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, T.J. Maxx, Toys “R” Us and Ames stores in the United States as well as the Zellers, Wal-Mart Canada and Toys “R” Us stores in Canada, and a limited selection of merchandise in Australia at Kmart Australia and Target Australia?

What if I told you we’d have kids meal tie-ins at McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, and KFC world wide … and even a Slurpee named after our lead character in 7-Eleven convenience stores?

By now you should be thinking seriously about quitting your day job! I’ll spare you the details about the theme parks, CDs and DVDs, the NASCAR stock cars, the water parks, MP3 players, video arcade games, board games, digital cameras, a DVD player, books and magazines, Facebook Page and Twitter account, and a flat-screen television.

Now let me tell you a little about the character that’s going to produce this overwhelming financial windfall. It’s got to be a cartoon character that everyone, young and old, can respect and relate to. So how about this?

The cartoon series would be set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in the fictional city of Bikini Bottom and on the surrounding lagoon floor.

The main character would be a sea sponge, but in shape and color his body more closely resembles a kitchen sponge. His name would be SpongeBob SquarePants, and he lives in a pineapple under the sea! Perfectly logical, right? Look at this photo of SpongeBob. Does anything about this character make sense?

Well, by now I’m sure I probably would have lost your interest because you would have decided that I was out of my mind … due to the fact that no one on earth would believe anything I’ve said thus far and certainly wouldn’t be interested in a character like this.

Well, everything mentioned above has happened and continues to happen every day. This unbelievable character, his outlandish friends and neighbors, and extraordinarily successful series was created by artist, animator and former marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, and is produced through his production company, United Plankton Pictures Inc.

It is currently Nickelodeon’s highest-rated show, the most distributed property of MTV Networks, and among Nicktoons Network’s most-watched shows. Although its original network is Nickelodeon, SpongeBob is now broadcast around the world. It is the second longest-running Nicktoon, next to the Rugrats.

SpongeBob’s has friends and associates:

  • His neighbor and best friend is a pink and highly idiotic starfish named Patrick Star, who lives under a rock.
  • Another neighbor, Squidward Tentacles, is a highly arrogant and egotistical octopus.
  • Another friend is Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel that lives in an underwater dome.
  • His house-pet is a snail named Gary who meows like a cat.
  • All of these characters are citizens of Bikini Bottom, an underwater city.
  • SpongeBob works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, a fast-food restaurant.

As some of you may know, I could go on and on describing this phenomenon, but I think you get the point.  Everything about this character, series, and movie screams nonsense and failure … yet it’s experienced nothing but success.

  • It has become equally popular with adolescents and adults alike.
  • This year they’re producing a prime-time 10th Anniversary documentary special.
  • Nickelodeon will air a 50-hour marathon of SpongeBob’s antics.
  • The Movie was made for $30 million and earned $140,161,792 world wide.

So why discuss this phenomenon on a business blog? Very simple. In today’s very challenging, competitive business environment, you’d better be willing to be creative, innovative, open-minded and willing to rule out absolutely nothing when it comes to products, services, and strategies. You’d better be willing to take calculated risks and expand your current comfort zone. Don’t be too quick to dismiss radical thinking similar to that which produced SpongeBob SquarePants! Times have changed. You’d better be willing to do the same!

Personally, I’m not attracted to SpongeBob SquarePants. I don’t understand the concept, have passed on his TV series, would more than likely opt out of his next movie, and won’t buy a lunch box with his picture on it. However, 20-20 hindsight convinces me that I certainly would have liked to invest in his career ten years ago.

Are you searching for your SpongeBob?

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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