5 Marketing Tips from Child Stars, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Allow your mind to go back to a time much simpler than this. A time when Beanie Babies, Furbies, and Troll dolls roamed the Earth, when VHS tapes were still the dominant medium for movies, and the Olsen twins were still two adorable little girls making sing-a-long videos.

It’s no question that Mary-Kate and Ashley knew a thing or two about business at a very young age. They were billionaires before they were even out of elementary school! (Okay, maybe they weren’t solely responsible. That may have had something to do with their parents and/or agents.)

No matter who was in charge of their earnings, there’s still a lot we can learn about business and hard work from the Olsen twins. I’ve pulled a few examples from their earlier videos (Our First Video, You’re Invited, and The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley) and without further ado, let the ‘90s nostalgia and marketing tips begin!

Marketing – “Brother for Sale”

In Our First Video, the very young Mary-Kate and Ashley sing a song about putting their annoying older brother up for sale. They learned early on the importance of supply and demand, content marketing, and advertising. When the twins try to sell their brother by describing his best qualities, and still find that no one is interested they lower the price. They also go to great lengths to draw attention to their sale with everything from clowns, giant inflatable pandas, to airplane banners. In fact, they do such a good job marketing their big brother they discover he’s not all that bad after all!

You should aim to do the same with your business: not only should your advertising be attractive and believable, but your product should be good enough that you want it yourself. If you wouldn’t buy it, why would anyone else?

Practice makes perfect – “Practice”

“Practice, practice, practice/If at first you don’t succeed/Don’t give up just keep on trying/Til you get up to speed.”

As this song from You’re Invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Ballet Party proclaims, it’s important to remember that you’re not always going to strike gold on your first try. For many start-ups, and even giant corporations, every little thing takes time and patience until a fool-proof system is discovered.

For new employees, keeping up with deadlines, learning new software, or simply getting the job done can seem overwhelming. Just remember that you are not going to be an expert right out of the gate, but everything will get easier with practice.

It’s OK to question authority – “It’s Not Logical”

Something that troubles many 5 and 6 year olds is…grown-ups. Those pesky grown-ups are always telling kids what to do. In this video from The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Logical I Ranch, Mary-Kate and Ashley show everyone that it’s okay to question authority.

Just because someone is higher up the corporate ladder than you, doesn’t mean they’re always right. Sometimes it’s okay to tell others when their thought processes just aren’t logical. You might even be doing your company a favor by saving them time and money!

Use your imagination for problem solving – “Let your Mind Meander”

“Run the problem backwards, turn the problem round,/ Tip the problem over, turn it upside down./Take another gander out into the yonder,/Let your mind meander, let your wonder wander.”

The Olsens learned how to use creativity for problem solving in The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the U.S. Space Camp Mission. Brainstorming is extremely important in business and marketing. If you want any shot at really pushing the envelope in your industry, you’ll have to engage your brain in new and exciting ways.

No matter how wrapped up in assignments and deadlines you get, never let your imagination lie dormant. Embrace and explore any new ideas that may come to mind, no matter how crazy they might seem. You never know what could turn into a highly profitable idea!

Be confident – “Bravery”

If two eight-year-olds can tackle their fears, surely you can do the same! Mary-Kate and Ashley teach a few valuable lessons in this song from The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley: The Case of Thorn Mansion. First, you’ll never get anywhere in any business or workplace situation if you don’t take a few risks. Be confident and don’t let anything new intimidate you.

Second, just like Mary-Kate and Ashley can depend on their mom and dad, if your new endeavors get a little too scary don’t hesitate to call on your co-workers or your boss for support.

There’s no denying that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen knew more about business than your average kid, and they’ve given us a few marketing tips to ponder! Most importantly, however, they taught us that you can put anything on a pizza.

What are your favorite marketing tips? Which old Mary-Kate and Ashley songs do you remember? Do you know of another Mary-Kate and Ashley song that could be helpful for businesses?

Photo courtesy of Jyle Dupuis.

Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+.


  1. Cybernetic SAM

    Wow these songs make me feel weird. Well at least they used a lot of big words (for such young kids) to try and teach kids not to talk like idiots i.e. approved credit, meander, credibility, logical, expense. As far as them encouraging children to “expand their minds” not sure I approve what that implies. 😛 Regardless this was a pretty hilarious post! Nice job!

    • Jenna Markowski

      Haha, I never really thought about it, but they did use some pretty big words for young kids. Thanks, Sam! 🙂

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I have to admit, Jenna, when you pitched this blog idea, I was a little skeptical. But look at that, the Olsen Twins definitely had some excellent business and marketing takeaways – I honestly would’ve never guessed.

    I don’t remember many of the lyrics, but I do remember the tune of “Video Monster.” As I recall, the twins played a video game very intently while singing the tune. Maybe persistence would be a good takeaway? I know that they refused to quit until it was done. 🙂

    • Jenna Markowski

      I was skeptical too, Mandy. But once I started doing some research there was actually a lot more to work with than I thought!

      Haha, I forgot about that one! Persistence is definitely a good takeaway. I’m sure they have quite a few songs that send that message, especially in their detective series.

  3. Amanda

    OMG. I used to love Mary Kate & Ashley! In fact, I had a that “Our First Video” on VHS. I loved that thing!! They were so cute….so sad to see what fame does to the child stars. Cool post idea Jenna! =)

    • Jenna Markowski

      Me too! In fact, I’m pretty sure I still have it. It’s the best! Thanks, Amanda! 🙂

  4. Amy Swanson

    Great job, Jenna! You really did an awesome job relating the Olsen twins to marketing and business advice. I think if you can do that, you can do anything. Way to go!!

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Amy! Haha, if you say so! 😀

  5. Rachel

    “Brother for Sale!” Oh man, I could hum the chorus to that (all, like, 2 sentences of it) before even clicking on the video. I must have owned that video at some point in my childhood … I remember relating to it well, seeing as I have my own big brother to put up for sale. 🙂

    Anyway, great takeaways from all of these, Jenna! Who knew the Olsen twins were so business-savvy at such a young age …

    • Jenna Markowski

      “Brother for Sale” is definitely one of my favorites! I’m pretty sure I will never forget the words to that one (or “Gimme Pizza”). I think a lot of kids could relate to that song, because I’m sure every kid has thought about putting their siblings up for sale at one point or another!

      Thanks, Rachel! I know, right?

  6. Bret Bonnet

    You got it dude! 🙂

    • Jenna Markowski

      You’re in big trouble, mister! Hahaha Full House rules. 🙂

  7. Jen

    I didn’t ever watch any of these videos as a kid, I was a Disney brat, but I really like the take-aways! Great post Jenna, who knew Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were such great business gurus at 8 years old. 🙂

    • Jenna Markowski

      You were obviously missing out, Jen, and I’m sure you can tell by the cinematic genius of these videos, haha! Not to worry, you can find most of their videos pretty cheap at the thrift store to make up for lost time (of course, you’d have to find a VCR, too).

      Thanks, Jen! 🙂

  8. Jaimie Smith

    Wow Jenna!! I don’t even know where to begin!! You def tackled this, I don’t think anyone could have done a better job on this!!
    This brings back so many memories…I admit I used to be a big fan of the Olsen Twins. Me, my sister, and all my cousins grew up watching them when we were kids. My grandparents bought almost every single one of their videos for us, so visits over at their house we would always fight over which one we got to watch that day. They were awesome!! Back then anyway.
    I still remember the Pizza one so well. Their friend with the short hair always annoyed the crap out of me lol.
    I was always so jealous of them, they were so little and got to have so many parties and go to so many cool places. I thnk The Mall of America one and the Fashion Show one were my all time favorites. There were some good takeaways in those too.
    AWESOME job, Jenna. Besides Bret falling out of his chair, this made my day! 🙂 lol

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Jaimie! 🙂

      I was a huge fan of the Olsens, too! Their videos were always on ABC Family on the weekends when I was younger, and I remember watching them with my sister. It actually hasn’t been too long since I’ve watched one of their videos though, I’m pretty sure I bought the “Greatest hits of the ‘You’re Invited’ Series” or something like that on VHS from the thrift store a few months ago!

      “Gimme Pizza” is definitely my favorite, although we can both agree that the short-haired girl is annoying. My friends and I still sing that song every time there’s pizza at the dining hall at school!

  9. Eric

    You know, I never really was a fan or watched a whole lot of “Full House.” Before I’d finally gotten cable, I’d watch shows like “The Jeffersons,” or “Good Times.”

    This may explain a lot.

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