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When marketing hype goes OTT

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday November 21, 2006 )

I’ve been picking up on snippets of disturbing news over the last couple of days regarding the recent launch of the Sony Playstation 3. I’m certainly not much of a gamer; but I was one of the fools that lined up for the original Xbox a few years ago.. never again. Moooo! Baaa! Like livestock heading to slaughter.

What’s made me incredibly sad and questioning some marketing hype tactics once again were the many reports of violence and anti-social behavior related to the PS3 release.

People were shot, mugged and beaten while standing in line to get one of the damned things. I read other reports of people clawing each other to get to their object of desire. Much of this frenzy was fueled by rumors prior to the rollout of inventory shortages. Hrm.

Let’s face it folks, it wasn’t a cure for cancer being released, it was a game console that will be outdated very soon. This type of behavior is nothing new I guess – it’s been going on at closing down sales, stock clearance sales etc. for a long time; but perhaps not so extreme? Is this a sign of things to come?

As a marketer, it makes my stomach churn to think that some fellow marketers yearn for this type of response in customers. After all, it generates publicity, right? And any publicity is good publicity, right?

If that’s the case, if that’s what the majority of marketing industry believes, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t; then the PS3 marketers should be given a special industry award for generating the chaos. They have been extraordinarily “successful”.

To be honest, thinking back; I can’t even remember *why* I bought one of the first XBoxes available in Australia; that is, I cannot give a good, logical reason. Sure, I wanted one, the family wanted it – but to line up for it? To spend hundreds of bucks more than I would do if I simply waited for a couple of months?

Having worked in IT since the mid-90’s, I really should have known better. The golden rule – *never* buy the latest and greatest; it will cost too much and most likely be bug-ridden. Early adopters are guinea pigs who pay for the privilege.

It’s quite simple, I fell for the marketing hype. I was a sucker.

Is it the store/companies’ fault when PS3-style frenzies occur, or just the customers? It’s a bit of both for sure; but I don’t think that many people turn up at these rollouts and sales looking for a fight; but the marketers and store owners are well aware there will probably be one. It’s a sad state of affairs on both sides of the fence and something that the marketing industry should seriously reflect on.

Buzz is great, but this kind of thing occurring as a result; ick.

There’s certainly a lot to be said for shopping online to avoid this type of primitive behavior :).


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