How's that for a loaded question? So-called "traditional advertising" is so ubiquitous these days that its legitimate reach was questioned long ago, resulting in an onslaught of non-traditional marketing techniques. Keeping that in mind, it comes as some surprise that "buzz" is still little understood. But, no matter how mysterious it remains, buzz is more relevant today than ever before. Take for instance the most recent music videos to go viral. First, there's Hollerado's video for Americanarama that everyone's talking about (nearly 500,000 YouTube views in the period of two weeks). Yes, it took a little money to create that video, but more than anything it's reached success because of creativity and song quality. And, judging by Hollerado's history, the success couldn't have come to a more deserving band. Second, there's Atomic Tom's controversial video for Take Me Out, featuring the band members playing their respective instruments via iPhone apps on the subway in New York. I won't get into the questionable back story, but regardless of what's true, this band is also doing something creative and it's working (approaching 2M views in just 6 days). Jonah Lehrer, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote a piece attempting to dissect this phenomenon we call buzz over the weekend. Lehrer's article focuses more on the film industry than the music industry, but the statistics mentioned and tactics highlighted to build buzz run parallel enough to the music business for us to post them here. Read the WSJ article below, and let us know about your experiences with buzz in the comments!
(WSJ Online) The Buzz On Buzz
credit: Jonah Lehrer as seen on Wall Street Journal
As its premiere approached back in 1999, "The Sixth Sense" looked like a sure loser. Walt Disney Co. had already sold off some important rights to the film. Few in Hollywood expected the movie to earn back its $40 million budget, especially since it wasn't going to be supported by a large ad campaign. But "The Sixth Sense" ended up being a smash hit. Teenagers couldn't stop talking about the film's trailer, which featured a young boy uttering the line: "I see dead people." And so, before a single review had been written, the movie became the subject of countless conversations. It ended up grossing more than $670 million world-wide.