As marketers, we’re often asked to create campaigns that will turn heads, open minds and even loosen purse strings. So this espresso, we wanted take a look at recent successful – and unsuccessful – examples of hype.
Each year, Glastonbury faces the challenge of creating a buzzy enough line-up that people will don their wellies and part with several hundred quid. Tricky, when in over half a century, there have been a fair few returning faces. But this year an unfamiliar addition cropped up on their schedule – The Churnups – prompting a flurry of speculation on social media. Was it Red Hot Chili Peppers or The 1975 or Pulp, the latter on the basis that pulp is a close synonym of churn? Some keen-eyed observers correctly guessed Foo Fighters, on the grounds Dave Grohl was once part of a band called Churn. While this wasn’t their first trip to Worthy Farm, this small intrigue created unexpected chatter.
Hype is central to the success of a lot of new fashion brands. Anyone who’s been within a square mile of Soho has seen the Supreme queue snaking down Peter Street whenever there’s been a drop.
But there are other disruptors on the fashion scene. The new kid on the block, Corteiz, is an anti-establishment label offering few and far between clothing drops with limited stock, generating a sense of scarcity and a competitive element. Their 99p cargo pants sale specified that you had to bring exactly 99p in change (cue rummaging down the back of the sofa). Stunts like this that have secured the brand a cult following.
That kind of hype is perhaps easier for a nascent disruptor. For brands who have been round the block a few times, fresh buzz demands reinvention. After ten years (often with biannual outings), Love Island has clearly felt the strain. Despite this new series beginning with a fresh twist – the public voting for the first couples – the opener attracted just 1.3 million viewers, over a million down on last year.
While rival gay dating show I Kissed A Boy might not have racked up the same number of viewers, its freshness and inclusion of different body types (rather than the usual toned torsos of Casa Amor) set it apart. Already, BBC Three has commissioned I Kissed A Girl. To survive, Love Island may need even more of a format shake-up.
Because really, novelty sits at the heart of any good hype. New brands with smart strategy can make impact, but long-standing institutions need to adapt and innovate if they’re to keep their share of the audience, whether in muddy Somerset or sunny Mallorca.