Friday, September 12, 2008

Pseudo-Events

The holidays are approaching? ...Time for a family photo.

A new movie is debuting? ...Time for a glamorous premier.

The pit bull wears lipstick? ...Time to sound off.

The topics and events we discuss are frequently fueled by pseudo-events. According to Boorstin, a "pseudo-event is an event or activity that exists for the sole purpose of garnering media publicity and serves little to no other function in real life." The illusion of importance and the media's selected hype create rapid marketing potential for pseudo-events. These events virally spread across social media, including blog posts, forum discussions, twitter conversations and email blasts.

Marketers often create pseudo-events to generate headlines for their brand, product or persona.

Would Sarah Palin receive the same publicity without the lipstick covered hype? In the first quarter, would your neighborhood flower store sell the same quantity without Valentine's Day?

Our daily decisions to listen and consume are accelerated by these events. If enough people discuss something, it must be important right? As marketers position brands, be aware of the pseudo-events that influence your decisions. Is that "limited time offer" or "exclusive event," really that important and essential?

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