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A Happy Little Brand Resurrection

If you would have told me a few weeks ago that I was going to spend my Friday night streaming “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross, I probably would have laughed in your face. As a kid I knew of his program but mostly thought it was silly and a little weird. When I got wind that Twitch was streaming all 403 episodes of the series, I had no plan to watch it. Little did I know, a week and a half later I would be sitting teary eyed in my apartment, clinging on to the last episode, wanting more. And I wasn’t alone. Since going live, the Bob Ross stream has had over 3.8 million visitors. At one point during the finale there were over 160k people watching live. It was kind of fantastical to watch the current online community get behind a show that ended 20 years ago. Granted, you can find most of the episodes on YouTube. But something about the non-stop episodes marathoning on through the night, paired with the ridiculous live chat happening simultaneously, really brought about a sense of community. The hilarity of the chat was what really made it for me. At any given moment, the chat could be flooded with “RUINED” as Ross dropped in a huge tree, or with a resounding “SAVED” or “GG” (good game) at the episode end.

The pairing of Ross’ unbelievable painting skills and soft-spoken, positive demeanor in “The Joy of Painting” is something that you just don’t see anymore. I found myself streaming the show before work, mainly for the calming effect of listening to Bob paint. And I wasn’t alone, which is kind of the best part: the Internet displayed an encouraging ability to rally behind something upbeat and get people talking about it. The hashtags #KEEPBOB and #ThankYouBob were trending worldwide on Twitter during the last few episodes.

Media outlets from CNN to the LA Times have taken note of this phenomenon. Luckily for us, it appears as though it isn’t over just yet. Although the last episode aired Friday evening, the stream has been replaced with a countdown ending at 6PM EST, revealing what is next for the stream – a stream that now has over 430K subscribers. Will Twitch have a constant “Joy of Painting” stream? Is Bob Ross secretly alive and ready to make the biggest brand comeback ever, painting happy little clouds into our fast-paced lives? Tune in tonight at https://www.twitch.tv/bobross to find out! I know I’ll be watching.

~ Samantha Banner, Bob Ross Fan & Jr. Copywriter, The S3 Agency


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