Lessons on when to pull the plug on your brand.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

This week we learned the 15th season of American Idol will be its last.  It’s the end of an era for a show that was once called Fox’s “Death Star” because it crushed any show that dared to air at the same time.  What made it so successful?

  • It had the 1st mover advantage in what is now a crowded ‘talent show’ genre
  • The judges tapped into 3 different archetypes: Simon the Outlaw, Paula the Caregiver and Randy the Creator
  • And real stars were created out of average people (one day that could be me!)

But then the headwinds came their way:

  • Simon walked and eventually the original judging panel was replaced but three likeable yet very vanilla and homogeneous personalities
  • Competitors started to chip away with new formulas, making American Idol feel stale
  • And no new stars were born

We applaud Fox for demonstrating acceptance and knowing when to finally pull the plug.  It’s important for brands to understand the drivers of their success.  And when the brand runs out of gas, pull over and walk away.