Breaking the Formula: ABC’s Castle and Marketing Tips, Part 1

My last Castle blog was a hit! Thanks to everyone for reading it and retweeting it (You have checked out our Twitter account, right?). The excellent SaveCastle Twitter even picked it up and retweeted it to its 3,300 followers. That’s almost as exciting as the time Jon Huertas tweeted me that he was flattered I had a crush on Esposito. ALMOST.

In any event, SaveCastle really came through with the retweet, which gave that blog post some awesome numbers. And since my boss was pleased with the hit count, I get to write about Castle again. So please keep checking out the blog and do leave some feedback if you can.

I love my job.

Anyway, although I would love to just chat about Castle for ten pages, I do need to tie it into what this blog is all about: marketing. ABC’s Castle, luckily, can teach us all about that! I made a list of some of my favorite things about the show and how they can teach business owners to advertise their brand better.

1) Teamwork matters.

As much as I love House, there comes a time when you just get bored of good old Greg pulling out the answer at the last second (leaves make a pattern in the grass or a vase falls on a piano and a certain sequence of notes are played or whatever) while the other doctors stand around looking like idiots. They all went to medical school and got the same degrees. Even the person who graduates last in the class is still considered competent enough to be called “doctor.” In Castle, it’s not always the title character that pulls out the solution. Does Castle contribute way more than any other novelist-turned-consultant would? Absolutely. But even when he smugly comes up with an angle and shares it with Beckett, she often meets him with a “We’re already working on it” followed up with a wonderfully-timed phone call from Esposito (xoxoxo) or Ryan who’s just unearthed the critical piece of evidence.

Similarly, marketing is rarely the responsibility of a single person, but there’s often someone at the top who filters through all the ideas and has the last say. However, contributions from everyone should be recognized – from the CEO right down to the mailroom. After all, the Nike Swoosh was created by a graphic design grad student, and rumor has it that the Yankees logo was drawn on a bar napkin at the 21 Club in New York City. People who work in marketing as their primary vocation obviously have training and experience that positions them to have a greater understanding of the big picture of advertising. But that doesn’t mean they have the best marketing ideas. After all, I haven’t sat in on one minute of a single marketing class… but I wrote about Castle in the company blog and got us some serious web traffic toward Quality Logo Products. Tell my boss how valuable I am, eh?

2) Keep your communication clear and concise.

As Richard Castle himself would likely tell you, the key to everything is language. After all, he spent the better part of an entire episode (“The Double Down”) bemoaning the incorrect usage of “your” (I have similar sentiments. Please don’t get me started.) and frequently admonishes people for incorrect usage of the word “irony” (a linguistic crime for which I hold Alanis Morissette solely responsible). Add symbolism – we do trade in logos as well – and you’ve got yourself a solid marketing tenet.

Communicating with clients through the means of broad advertising means you’re unfortunately unable to tailor your words or images to specific audiences. Widely distributed promotional products at public events have the advantage of reaching huge groups of people with a single investment, but you can’t cater to individual strategies to hit target groups. Make sure your marketing language in these contexts don’t limit your audience by making references that only certain groups will find interesting. For targeted campaigns, you can get more specific, but make sure the message isn’t too much of an inside joke with a limited audience.

Want to make new customers happy in Wrigleyville? Put a crosshairs over the Cardinals’ logo. The nearest St. Louis fan is several hours away (if he knows what’s good for him), and you’re appealing to an inside joke. Even non-sports fans will get the idea, because the symbolism is clear.

Those are the very first two Castle-inspired marketing strategies I’m offering. Later this week, I’ll unveil some more. What do you think of these? Am I missing the mark or right on target? What else has Castle taught you about marketing? Are you as super pumped as I am for tonight’s conclusion to the most explosive two-partner ever? Beckett’s okay, right? RIGHT!? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!


Jana Quinn

An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.


  1. SaveCastle

    Great write-up. Isn’t it wonderful to incorporate Castle into work-related assignments?

    Thanks for helping to promote Castle as well, by the way. Greatly looking forward to tonight’s episode–should pull in some impressive numbers.

  2. Pirate Wench

    Excellent Blog Post. Nice to be able to read something comprehensive that relates to everyday matters (which for me would be this insane love of Castle). Thanks for the insight

  3. jtropper

    Thanks, Pirate Wench! I like to think that “marketing” is critical in any job. You’ve got to make other people feel that your skill set is worth being paid for – whether you’re marketing yourself or a product, these skills can come in handy. Also, I am very glad to join you in your insane love for Castle. 🙂

    SaveCastle, thanks! Tonight’s numbers are going to be huge; I can feel it. Between the amazing numbers from last week, the incredible word-of-mouth, and last night’s repeat, we’re going to totally trash the competition.

  4. Theadd

    thanks for posting. Great article.

  5. Sal

    Very creative, I like it.

  6. Bret Bonnet

    Castle cupcakes!

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