Amazon's 'Dude Perfect' Idea Might Be a New Trick

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It's one thing to watch as the view count on the latest Dude Perfect video reliably climbs into the millions. It's another to see them at a live show at a stop on their national tour and feel the explosion of energy radiating off of what has become a burgeoning industrial complex. They aren't really that group from YouTube. They are a cultural phenomenon happening among consumers who are largely too young to shape public or adult conversation. My son and I caught them as they rolled through town a few weeks ago and I was honestly worried there might be some empty seats and it would feel a little sad. Those concerns couldn't have been more misguided. Every kid there would have run through a brick wall for their favorite trick-shot enthusiast. Every kid there wanted two products from the merch store. Every parent there was probably a bit shocked that one of them is going to space. Most were unprepared to field questions about the Dude Perfect cruise because who expected there to be a Dude Perfect cruise?

They point is, they have a clearly-defined market and a proven track record of putting noggins in seats. So it makes all the sense in the world that Amazon intends to put the quintet on an alternate stream multiple times this season during Thursday Night Football.

The internationally renowned masters of the impossible will deliver an unprecedented and rollicking TNF viewing experience that the entire family can enjoy together. Passionate NFL fans and the kings of viral sports videos (58 million subscribers on YouTube), The Dudes are setting out to raise the stakes with off-the-wall challenges, good-spirited ribbing, and life-changing dares rooted in on-field action. “TNF with Dude Perfect” pushes creative boundaries and offers a new way to enjoy live games. Watch the guys predict what happens in the next play and welcome an entertaining parade of dunk tanks, pudding cannons, special guests, and the occasional world record attempt.   

This may not be for you. It wouldn't be for me if my kid wasn't obsessed. But he is, and like so many others, there will be a new-found interest in Bengals-Titans or whatever when DP is on the call. Will the product be any good? That doesn't really matter if legions of Perfectheads are tuning in and it's not for the critics anyway. People may not appreciate it in the moment, but this will emerge as one of the better ideas a broadcast partner has had for an ancillary product in a long time. Not Dude Perfect, per se, but a precisely targeted experience leveraging an existing brand. And one that skews younger than the Bruce Springsteen enthusiasts who over-laugh at everything on the ManningCast.

Broadly, nothing is bigger than the NFL. In this case, for the specific audience being courted, Dude Perfect is bigger than the NFL. They are the star attraction and the game is secondary. Until now it's felt like the on-field product has always been at the center of the frame and the personalities are scattered around the edges. If Amazon is really going to try to buck this system and it works, it could open the floodgates in terms of filling the Wild West of alternate streams with fresh new ideas.

From a neutral perspective, I have to say that I appreciate the swing here. It seems extremely forward-thinking and like someone is trying out a new door to see if there might be some magic behind it. Underestimate it at your own peril.