What can we learn from this? Even something as goofy as a Pierogi race can be powerful if it's done in a way that promotes a brand. The Pierogi racers are more than just a side show; over the years they have become a full-fledged franchise with a fan base, merchandise, and even a back story. It mirrors nicely what Roxio has done with Angry Birds, Nintendo did with Mario, and Geico has done with many of their ad campaigns. Once something becomes a brand, it's harder to break and has loyal fans for years. Think about Disney as an example. Even though Disney had a dark period of poor films in the 70's and 80's, and even though their animation team was weak between Lilo and Stitch and Wreck-It Ralph, the brand continued on just the same. Even years of Brother Bear and Cars 2 couldn't bring them down.
While I've been working slowly this summer on school work and grad school assignments, one thing that's become increasingly clear from my connections on Twitter is the important of building a brand for yourself. Whether you're a teacher, a student, or just someone with a hobby, if you're able to make a brand and stake a claim on some small niche, you'll eventually be able to make yourself valuable. If you rely solely on your job description and salary to determine your worth, you'll be constantly at the mercy of others. If, however, you make yourself into a valuable brand and valuable commodity, you'll be able to generate your own wealth. Even if you never make a sale or monetize your products, you'll be something valuable in the marketplace. If the Pirates can turn the Pierogi race into a global event, imagine what you could do if you come up with a better idea on top of your brand.