What “The Good Place” Teaches Us About Marketing

"The Good Place" is a hit TV show with audiences, and it may actually hold a few great lessons for marketers. Even if you've never seen The Good Place, chances are you've at least heard of it. Set in the neighborhood of, well, the Good Place (heaven, if you will), the show revolves around characters who realize they don’t belong there, and their efforts to ensure they’re able to stay.

It’s hailed as one of the best shows on TV right now, but it’s not just the brilliant writing and acting that make the show what it is. There are plenty of underlying messages in each episode, specifically about ethics and what it means to be a good person, while still being funny and not preachy.

But there are other lessons within and around the show that marketers should pay attention to. While some are subtle, others are so obvious we can’t believe it took this long to notice!

WARNING: If you haven’t seen at least through season two of “The Good Place,” read no further! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Forking Genius Branding

When you go to the Good Place, there are a few simple rules put in place. You can’t die again, you get to fly, anything you want is provided and, perhaps most humorously, you can’t curse. For the main character, Eleanor, this proves to be somewhat of a challenge. She does try her best to curse, but it simply comes out as “forking, bullshirt,” and so on.

While it is hilarious to hear these characters have their cursing censored like that, doing so automatically created a branding bonanza for “The Good Place” and NBC. For anyone familiar with the show, hearing someone use “forking” as a curse word automatically brings on laughs. It’s simple, but it’s unique — and effective.

At Comic Con 2018, NBC even erected a giant fork for fans to take a picture with:

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The Fork is strong with #TheGoodPlace at #NYCC!

A post shared by The Good Place (@nbcthegoodplace) on

While the characters and setting of “The Good Place” are unforgettable, that’s not what fans are most drawn to. By making the “censored cursing” mainstream, “The Good Place” has made itself an intricate part of mainstream society. Though most businesses won’t find that same level of success with their branding, simplicity and uniqueness means a much better chance of being remembered.

Takeaway: You probably have branding language you use for your business. Is it simple, easy to remember and unique to you? If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your efforts.

Rebel Against the Conventional, Even If It’s Scary

Here’s where the spoilers begin — YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

At the end of season one, we learn that the Good Place isn’t really the Good Place at all. In fact, the designer of the neighborhood is actually a demon named Michael, who proposed a new kind of torture for the Bad Place. In essence, his proposal is that he can get humans to torture each other for thousands of years, without the need for physical torture. However, Eleanor realizes they’re all in the Bad Place, causing Michael to reset everything and try his experiment again, under threat of eternal torture if he doesn’t succeed.

But Michael isn’t the only one rebelling against the norm. Janet, the all-knowing personified AI, is designed to simply dispense information and get whatever residents of the Good Place need. However, she is soon tasked with the emotional task of couples therapy, and even falls in love herself. Though these events go against her entire programming and wreak havoc, they ultimately seem to change her for the better.

As a business owner or marketer, it’s vital you also rebel against the conventional. In today’s world, audiences easily avoid traditional marketing tactics. Commercials are skipped, and online ads are blocked. Now, you have to deliver value to your audience, whether that’s an unmissable coupon or an educational piece of content. Try different tactics and see what works best for you and your company.

Takeaway: Are you stuck in a rut? Do a bit of research and discover what the top marketers and businesses in your industry are doing to reach their audiences, and emulate their efforts — even if it means venturing into the unknown.

You Need Lots of Points to Get Into the Good Place!

In “The Good Place,” every action in your earthly life either earns or costs you points. For example, remembering your sister’s birthday gets you 15.02 points, and ending slavery gets you 814,292.09 points. However, telling a woman to smile costs you -53.83 points, and committing genocide costs you -433,115.55 points.

Being a good person isn’t enough to get into the Good Place. You need to have essentially lived your life as a saint. That means selflessly helping people and devoting your life to goodness. One character, Tahani, spent her life throwing fundraisers and helping the poor, but for all the wrong reasons — so she ends up in the fake Good Place (a.k.a. The Bad Place).

When it comes to marketing, especially online, the same kind of rules apply. Just doing the bare minimum of right things, like having a website and contact information, won’t get you into Google’s “Good Place.” You have to go full-in on your efforts, without cutting corners. Otherwise, the best you’ll do is maybe page 2 of search results (if you’re lucky).

Takeaway: Stick with “white hat” tactics, like creating great content, building strong links, implementing proper Schema markup and playing by Google’s rules. Doing so will make it a lot easier to get to Google’s “Good Place” — position one of search results.

Build Branding, Be a Rebel and Get Positive Points with Antarsia Marketing

Just like getting into the Good Place, getting onto page one of Google takes effort. But the search engine’s algorithms constantly change — and it’s difficult to play by the rules if you don’t know them. That’s why you and your marketing team have to stay on top of these changes and adapt your strategies to them.

One thing is certain, though: Every time Google releases a new algorithm, they consistently point toward the importance of great content.

At Antarsia Marketing, revolutionary content is all we do — in fact, it’s in our name!

Let us create the website content you need to get into Google’s “Good Place.” We can even help you find your brand identity so you can rise above your competition.

Give us a call today at (470) 419-5909 or contact us online to get the blogs, landing pages and other website content your business needs!