The Magic School Bus was a Scholastic book series and popular television show that followed a quirky science teacher named Ms. Frizzle and her class on magical science-themed field trips in a flying yellow bus. Science television at the time was dominated by male figures, and this was an attempt to improve science education programming for girls and minority students in particular. What can we learn about personal branding from this popular TV series?
Learning about cell division or the ins and outs of geology might not necessarily be thrilling, and a book series with the goal of improving science education for underrepresented groups could easily become dull. The Magic School Bus was one of the most fun and entertaining shows of its time, however, which proves that it is possible to make just about anything compelling if the branding is creative enough. Consider how your brand can jazz up the traditionally boring information that it has to share.
Parents who grew up watching the original series and loving Ms. Frizzle have tuned their kids in to watch the reboot on Netflix, and a movie studio is banking on that popularity to bankroll a whole live action film. Nostalgia sells, and The Magic School Bus and the reboots are the perfect example of that. Use nostalgia to your brand’s advantage whenever possible, whether via original content or partnering with other brands or personalities who are likely to inspire the loyalty of your audience.
It can be tempting to make a brand blandly neutral to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, but The Magic School Bus leaned into being as quirky as possible and was completely memorable for it. Ms. Frizzle was one of the quirkiest characters on television, with her wild hair, brightly colored science-themed dresses, and a penchant for odd adventures like exploring a student’s stomach lining at the molecular level. That individuality in the show’s main character and in its plot lines made it special. Consider how your brand can lean into its quirky qualities for maximum effect.