Using fear to grab someone’s attention seems to be an effective technique in direct marketing and sales. Credit card companies are known for using the scare tactic as a method to get you to open an envelope. Now it seems like Advertising firms have jumped on the bandwagon using a more direct scare tactic to draw attention to upcoming movies and shows, but is this technique taking away jobs from traditional advertising and communication companies? First it was “Carrie”, then it was the “Devil Baby”, now its the “Walking Dead” where AMC sends New Yorkers a message by scaring the heck out of them to draw attention to the upcoming season.
Perhaps scare tactics have convinced the public that because companies apply so much effort reaching out to customers then the product should be worth buying. But are some companies going too far by being too mean-spirited? There are many questions to be answered. Are these unsuspected victims aware that they are been filmed? Are some of these video pranks becoming more popular than the film itself? Is this new scare tactic a replacement for the traditional ways of reaching out to the public? And most importantly are companies investing money into scare tactics and producing them on their own or are they paying advertising and marketing firms to do it for them? The following quote from BusinessWeek answers some of these questions by stating that “The three-year-old advertising firm (Thinkmodo) makes videos for companies such as Oakley (LUX:IM) , AMC Networks (AMCX) , and CBS Films (CBS), and almost every one has been watched more than a million times-many of them more than 10 million. Thinkmodo’s last ad was a two-and-a-half-minute promo for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s (SNE) Carrie remake that featured a woman using her telekinetic powers to freak out coffee shop patrons. Released in October, it’s been viewed more than 52 million times on YouTube; Google (GOOG) recently ranked it the second-most-watched online ad of the year”. The quote also suggests that social media does assist in reaching out to the world at a much faster rate than the traditional ways of advertising.
Most of us believe that hidden cameras are deceptive, movie producers set-up weird scenarios including anything from mysterious powers, supernatural themes with monsters and zombies. The concepts are usually funny, clever and surprising in forms of trickery and deception to unsuspecting victims, whose reaction tends to be fearful and can be unpleasant to watch at times. As a result these short videos go viral online allowing the message to travel at a much faster rate than just posting a flyer or a life sized poster.
After doing some research it doesn’t seem as if companies are firing their communications team as a replacement for scare tactics on social media. It seems to be a great way to interact with the public while getting people interested both physically and socially through the internet. Most companies have adopted this new technique, to market their brand, to reach out to the public in a marketplace that has already been impacted by so many new forms of technology.