Friday, January 17, 2014

An Important CCSS Marketing Idea

When you look at the commercial marketing blitz that trails along behind the giant blocking forearms of Common Core, what's surprising is that it's not bigger.

True-- "CCSS" has been stamped every printed object that a school might potentially buy. Every book and worksheet now touts its CCSS-ness. Heck, there are elementary level bulletin board decorations out there that are CCSS ready.

But I think the Architects of the Reformatorium have missed some opportunities. Why not the Official Soft Drink of CCSS? Why not a CCSS clothing line-- polo shirts will probably sell well, but I see a natural market for CCSS straightjackets as well. When can I expect to see a Happy Meal with CCSS action figures inside? I can think of many fun things to do with a little plastic David Coleman action figure. Many, many fun things.

Think of the licensing opportunities. Plush Arne Duncan dolls. CCSS board games-- as your piece moves around the board you must stop every other square to take a test, then at the end, each piece is repeatedly weighed to see which has added the most value while going around the board. A CCSS blimp [insert your own hot air joke here]. So many missed opportunities.

I do see, however, one important marketing idea they have not missed.

Much has been made of the copyrighting of CCSS, the fact that nobody is allowed to modify it or alter it but the actual copyright holders. I can think of many small reasons to do so, but I can think of one huge one.

Fast forward to two or three years from now. "We've been carefully examining the data from the first rollout of CCSS," announces Arne Duncan (or some plush stuffed object that has replaced him), "and we're happy to announce that a blue-ribbon committee of top-level corporate stooges have incorporated some of what we've learned into new and improved standards, a draft of which we totally waved in front of some teachers for five minutes. So we are now proud to introduce Common Core State Standards 2.0!"

And then, in order to stay current aka keep their government $$, school districts across the country (well, public ones, anyway) will need to upgrade their software, books, materials, programs-in-a-box, training programs, etc etc etc ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching.

When it comes to marketing and money streams, tie-ins, licensing, and spin-offs are great. But nothing beats planned obsolescence.

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