Saturday, February 19, 2011

Look at Me! Lok at Me! The Power And Value of Spectacle

Professional wrestling, Lady Gaga and Jeopardy – they all “get” the power of “Spectacle.”

Spectacles cut through noise, attract attention, generate audience, and cause talk even if for just a short period of time.

Last week’s Jeopardy “Watson” spectacle combined myth (“man vs. machine”), familiar characters in unfamiliar roles (retired champions not only playing each other but a machine), tension, backstory, showmanship, someone (or thing) to root for (or against), plenty of advance promotion, and multiple iterations (in this case three episodes) to further build the story, hype and audience.

The Jeopardy spectacle was apparently enough to change a significant number of viewers’ habits as the show scored its highest ratings in six years, with the first night alone up some 25% over its average, finishing second for the day.

There may or may not be a lasting benefit for Jeopardy, but the point is the spectacle was a much talked-about change agent that resulted in a lot of people breaking their media consumption pattern even if for a short while.

If you’re not already doing so, think about spectacle as part of your audience-growing strategy.

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