The End of the World As We Know It?

May 31, 2011 11:08 am

Why ‘the Rapture’ made such engaging content

Last week saw several high-profile men shamed, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn. But it was another man’s credibility that was more thoroughly terminated. Pastor Harold Camping’s prediction that ‘the Rapture’ would occur on 21 May and all good Christians would be beamed up into heaven was met with (mostly derisive) global attention, much of which played out over social media.

When 21 May came and went with Christians the world over remaining firmly planted on the ground, it’s fair to say Camping was left slightly red-faced. His explanation? A simple miscalculation. The real rapture, he said, will occur on 21 October.

It’s an easy mistake to make, we suppose – after all, fundamentalists of Camping’s yoke have never held science in much regard, so it stands to reason that mathematics wouldn’t be his strong suit either…

Regardless of whether doomsday prophecies are your thing or not, the real question here is why Camping’s prophecy (note that he’d already mistakenly predicted the end of days would arrive in 1994) caused such a stir? What is it about news stories like this that get the whole world talking?

Relatable content is compelling content

Seth Godin’s modern philosophy often has a brilliant explanation for phenomena such as this, and this case is no exception. He wrote:

‘How does one market the end of the world? After all, you don’t have a big ad budget. Your “product” is something that has been marketed again and again through the ages and it has never worked. There’s significant peer pressure not to buy it…

‘And yet, every time, people succumb. They sell their belongings, stop paying into their kid’s college fund and create tension and despair.

‘Here’s the simple lesson: Sell a story that some people want to believe. In fact, sell a story they already believe.’

Anyone raised with even a semi-Christian upbringing will be vaguely familiar with the concept of the end of days or the ‘Second Coming’. While we grow into our own spiritual (or non-spiritual) beliefs and understandings as we develop, those stories we recognise seem to resonate with some long-forgotten part of us.

So while we may not believe the messenger, or even the story itself anymore, there is something about the familiarity of the story that pushes us to take notice.

And take notice we did, as shown by this infographic from Mashable:

Relatable content is compelling content

There is a lesson here for content producers and content marketers. find the resonance in your story. To access some collective memory, some shared belief or even some global fear is to pique the interest of the public.

 

The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

 

Read more...

  • News & Views Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy. Here’s another one. We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy. The first agent who came […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing How to Make Your Content Actionable

    How to Make Your Content Actionable

    Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you. The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer. So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views The Stupidity of Silence

    The Stupidity of Silence

    It always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.

    Read more →
  • Email Marketing Features What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers—and there aren’t many more marketers out there doing so. It is a massive part of customer communication and revenue, but do you know just how massive? The following statistics come from all corners of the globe, and from many different industries. While they keep changing everyday, some are quite shocking. Here’s a brief description of everything you need to know about the power of email […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand. By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend. […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance. Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far. So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign. Know Your Audience Contrary to the opinion […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to avoid digital dead ends

    How to avoid digital dead ends

    Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes? While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them. Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things […]

    Read more →
  • Social Media When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm. Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Did you see Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars? Man, he nailed it: loose, funny, topical, irreverent, black. Hang on, what was that? Black? You can’t say that! That’s, that’s, well that’s racist! In isolation it’s jarring to refer to someone’s skin colour or any other personal feature when judging work they’ve just completed. Of course, it’s also completely irrelevant. But let’s back up a bit. This year’s Oscars were all about race. After the nominations were announced in January there […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Surreal Reality TV

    Surreal Reality TV

    Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s. Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ […]

    Read more →