Who shot JR?
Some of you may remember when the American TV series “Dallas” caused an international media frenzy in 1980 when their main character, JR Ewing, was shot. The person responsible was kept a secret from all actors and even producers, with every cast member being filmed doing the dirty deed.
The media frenzy that followed consumed all forms of the media, not just TV, with T-Shirts being worn, and bookmakers taking bets as to the culprit. Internationally, it was reported that 350 million people were asking “Who shot JR?”, as people speculated during their coffee breaks at work or in their local bars and restaurants. The public were kept waiting for 2 months to find out that the culprit was the character Kristin Shepard.
There is a lot that we can learn from “Dallas” about how a ‘buzz’ can be created for a brand. At it’s core, the main driver was suspense. Love or hate the character, people just wanted to know and as time went on, curiosity, theories and speculation grew. Multi channel marketing helped fuel the buzz with what we would call today “offline” marketing activities stimulating the conversation. Magazines and newspapers, radio stations, posters, T-Shirts, pens, mugs, etc all perpetuated the hype. Could you get people talking about your brand in the same way? Could you create a question that everyone wants to know the answer to? Could you create a viral phenomenon which commands such a positive buzz? Today, the channels available to us as digital marketeers make this much easier for us to reach these scales.
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