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Planning Hype - Engineering hype before a product launch


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The following is a guide for how to create excitement around a product before it has launched.

This is critical for how to market music, movies and games where the first-week window is critical.

The presentation was created by Julian Cole and Melissa Pepers.

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Published in: Marketing
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Planning Hype - Engineering hype before a product launch

  1. PLANNING HYPE How to market a product before it’s launched DIRECTOR’S CUT (20 EXTRA EXAMPLES)
  2. CREATED BY Melissa Pepers is a strategy consultant and futurist that helps businesses grow through the development of competitive business models and trend based activations. Julian Cole is a strategy consultant who’s helped entertainment brands (PlayStation, Universal, Interscope, Google) to create successful launch campaigns.
  3. FIRST WEEK SALES MATTER Entertainment and start-ups brands live and die by first week results. Leading to front loading marketing investment to a pre launch window.
  4. CHALLENGE How do you create demand for a product that’s not available?
  5. PLANNING HYPE FRAMEWORK This deck helps brief/brainstorm pre-launch ideas with the help of behavioral science.
  7. 1. SCARCITY
  8. SCARCITY Less of something heightens its perceived value. When scarcity seems less obvious, look for a way to make it exist. Think: limited edition products, limited quantity of VIP tickets, limited time brand collaborations, countdown timers
  9. PINNACLE ARCHIVES DESCRIPTION: The North Face unveiled a collection of revived pieces that have been taken to the edges of the Earth by the world’s best climbers and explorers at a pop-up space, high in the Dolomites in Italy, sitting at an altitude of 2100m. The highest pop-up space in the world gave passing climbers a space to rest and resupply. The limited edition collection that had been through unique conditions, increased the products value, as did the exclusivity of the pop-up which functions as a reward to potential lead-users of adventure apparel. LINK THE NORTH FACE
  10. ONE COPY SONG DESCRIPTION: In a world of mass consumption of music, Adam Tensta brought value to his new album by making one digital copy of his new album meaning only one person could listen at a time Adam created scarcity in the music category which is known for its abundance. LINK ADAM TENSA
  12. SIGNALLING Signal the extraordinary value of your product into something that your audience will understand. What would fans be willing to give up (time, money, possessions) to get the product? Think: Fan Stunts, Competitions, Waiting Lines
  13. INJECTABLE TICKETS DESCRIPTION: To create hype in advance of their 2018 tech festival, Pause collaborated with agency Taboo and a series of tech influencers to deliver them the first round of tickets via injectable implants. It set the scene with the kind of thought-provoking dialogue that indicated to fans what to expect from their next festival, focusing around tech and intimate boundaries. For annual events there is often an unknown surrounding how good the content will be. Injectable tickets signal the value others place on the event. It’s something you don’t want to see but you just have to watch, creating shareable friction that riffs on the event’s 2018 theme of intimate boundaries. LINK PAUSE FEST
  14. SURVIVAL BILLBOARD DESCRIPTION: “Survival of the Grittiest” challenge was a live, online experience in which eight gamers were strapped to a billboard in London and faced a test of Lara Croft-like grit and inner strength to win a trip inspired by the game. They helped to signal the lengths fans would go for a chance to be closer to the game LINK TOMB RAIDER
  16. CREDIBILITY They have to believe you can deliver. It’s difficult for first-timers or those with a bad reputation. Aligning with credible sources, demonstrating proof of capacity, resonating with current trends. Think: experts and ambassadors, existing brand reputation, demonstrations, collaborations with credible sources
  17. STREET ART HOTEL DESCRIPTION: Celebrity Chef Shannon Bennett turned the construction site of his upcoming six star hotel into an art exhibition for modern street artist Rone. The credibility of artist Rone was used to cast a light on the beauty of decay and the history in forgotten spaces. This created a desire to come and see the new site for his hotel which is located one hour outside of Melbourne. LINK BENNETT HOTELS
  18. GAMING THE AMERICAN DREAM DESCRIPTION: To immerse viewers in the hedge fund world of Billions protagonist Bobby Axelrod, Showtime partnered with the Wall Street Journal, a favorite read for many finance workers. The “Gaming the American Dream” experience (via WSJ Custom Studios) teaches readers about the history of the hedge fund market, its meteoric rise in wealth and societal influence, and the major players that dominate (and threaten) the industry today. The credibility from the partnership with the respected publication WSJ and through the authority that comes with producing educational content. Demonstrating knowledge by sharing it with others creates credibility. By offering additional opportunities to interact with a world in different ways creates credibility in the lead up to an event. LINK SHOWTIME
  20. CURIOSITY GAP Knowledge gaps in our everyday produce a feeling of deprivation. We’re motivated to resolve this state by obtaining the missing information. Make our product the missing information. Think: Disruptive stunts, Rabbit Holes, Puzzles, Conspiracy Theories
  21. “CHEATER” CAR DESCRIPTION: On the streets of London and New York, Bravo set the stage for a new season of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce in dramatic fashion. The network hired a woman in each city to vandalize a brand new car with phrases such as “Cheater” and “It’s Over” while passersby watched. Later, a distraught “boyfriend” would momentarily drive away, only to return to the crowd of onlookers on a flatbed revealing Bravo’s hand in the hijinks. Bringing an extraordinary scenario into people's everyday life drives them to want to know the backstory. By making drama too delicious to ignore, Bravo was able to capture everyone’s attention and use this as a potent promotion for their upcoming season launch. LINK BRAVO
  22. YEAR ZERO DESCRIPTION: A series of Easter Eggs dropped throughout the lead-up to the release of Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero created a fan conspiracy theory that culminated in an exclusive private show for the lucky few who cracked the code. For dedicated fans who feel like they know everything about NIN creating a conspiracy theory is the ultimate curiosity gap. Fans who got to the bottom of it were rewarded with a private show that’s the first live show to feature songs from the new album. The conspiracy theories also nurtured social proof through the Bandwagon Effect where additional people join the cause when there is already buzz, creating added contagion. LINK NINE INCH NAILS
  24. FOMO / OUTGROUPING There are winners and losers and you only want to be the first one. Divide your audience into haves and have nots. Make your haves become an authority creating an outgroup bias... and associated desperation in your have nots. Think: early access for hardcore fans, media/influencers first-in, unboxings, sneak peeks to select groups, voting and polls for user generated content
  25. 2 CHAINZ DESCRIPTION: 2 Chainz leveraged geolocation data with his pink trap house located in Atlanta to increase engagement with his fans and to raise awareness for his album via Instagram. The real life activations tapped into FOMO via limited dates and locations creating an in group of those who got to experience the house. PRETTY GIRLS LIKE TRAP MUSIC PINK HOUSE
  26. ONCE IN A LIFETIME DESCRIPTION: American Express worked with Spanish film director and screenwriter Álex de la Iglesia to create a short film that was screened at an exclusive premiere for Platinum clients only. The film was promoted ahead of the event; however, at the event it was revealed that once the film was over, it would never be seen again. Iglesia destroyed the only copy of the film in front of the live audience, dramatically dropping the laptop containing it into a tank of water. Rewarding the ingroup with this film creates an outgroup of everyone who is not a Platinum client which serves to create desire in non-Platinum clients as well as a strong ego-boost for those in the ingroup. LINK AMERICAN EXPRESS
  28. BECAUSE YOU WATCHED DESCRIPTION: For one weekend only, Netflix popped up in Los Angeles with an interactive exhibition of Netflix Originals that guide customers to additional shows they might love based on their current faves. This was in advance of the release for the “because you watched” feature of the subscription service. Being only live for one weekend only limits the supply of this unique experience and encourages people to prioritise it over other activities. There is also the scarcity inherent in having a unique experience to connect with a digital brand in person. LINK NETFLIX (SCARCITY)
  29. DROP MODEL DESCRIPTION: Batch releasing a new drop of products burst into the scene with Supreme and has since spawned a cultural phenomenon, with the marketing technique now seen far beyond streetwear. Hype is created through multiple avenues of scarcity used to create social proof and encourage herd behaviour. – limited quantity available – never to be made again – exclusive tickets for the drop – line out the door at the drop LINK SUPREME
  30. ALL BLACK CATS ARE NOT ALIKE DESCRIPTION: This crowdfunding campaign generated funds to create their new book by using imagery of patron’s actual black cats in return for their donations. In addition to smashing their crowdfunding goal, they also put themselves in front of many potential customers – those cat lovers who own black cats. Having a target market that loves the chance to share their own story (often seen with pets, babies and travel nostalgia) is a powerful way to create incentives that are often win-win for the business. The business gets free content and the cat owners get the world to see how special their personal experience is. LINK STUDIO GOLDSPARKLE
  31. THE SIDEWALK IS YOUR RUNWAY DESCRIPTION: In the Refinery29 “29Rooms activation” visitors were able to pose with handbags from the yet to be released fall collection and share GIFs of the moments with friends on social media. The luxury designer Michael Kors used a double robot camera for its installation at the event to entertain attendees. Patrons of the exhibition will obviously desire to share their exclusive experience of yet to be released fashion. This insight turned patrons into micro-influencers, and their content also naturally positions them as authorities on the topic as they get to see it first. LINK MICHAEL KORS X REFINERY29
  32. INCOGNITO VIOLINIST DESCRIPTION: Hype can be created around scarcity by making people deliberately miss out on an experience as a way of creating conversation. Washington Post ran an experiment with renowned violinist Joshua Bell by having him busk in a popular subway station. Despite sell out performances of his typically coveted tickets, he made only a small amount of money whilst busking and noone recognised him, creating conversation around classical music, performance and its place in modern society. Using stereotyping of buskers as a frame to ensure that it was unlikely that he would be noticed, Washington Post was able to ensure people missed out on this performance. The scarcity also became the cornerstone of the conversation, begging the question of why his celebrity wasn’t recognised and why his quality music not acknowledged. LINK WASHINGTON POST (SCARCITY)
  33. INSTAGRAM OUT OF OFFICE DESCRIPTION: If you fly with Qantas you can set your email Out Of Office to automatically populate with your custom message and any Instagram travel shots that you tag with #qantasoutofoffice. This transforms the usually boring email into a source of enjoyment and creates an outgroup of those looking on. The Hidden Box is multifaceted – it is whatever you want your next trip to be, the featured destination(s) and Qantas itself. LINK QANTAS (INGROUP)
  34. I’M A MAC DESCRIPTION: Brand competition is a strong way to highlight who you’re people are, what qualities they have, highlight why your product and brand is so great and play off the fun of major rivalries. A classic example of creating groups where there wasn’t any before, dividing the world of computer users into either Mac or PC, whilst demonstrating product qualities and brand features with those of the Mac being desirable. It also shows clearly the role of ridicule and humour in ‘outing’ the outgroup. LINK APPLE (INGROUP)
  35. CVS BEAUTY MARK DESCRIPTION: At the beginning of 2018 CVS announced it was done with heavily retouched makeup ads, suggesting they set an unrealistic and unhealthy beauty standard for the millions of women who shop in its stores. The company also announced that it will introduce the "CVS Beauty Mark," a watermark that will be used to highlight imagery that has not been materially altered. CVS Pharmacy will be working together with key brand partners and industry experts to develop specific guidelines in an effort to ensure consistency and transparency. Here an ingroup of multiple businesses is used to create an aspirational standard and to turn challenging an undesirable status quo into an ownable trademark seeking to establish CVS as not only in the ingroup, but as a thought leader of the desired group behaviour. LINK CVS (INGROUP)
  36. COURTNEY BARNETT & KURT VILE MIXTAPE EXCHANGE DESCRIPTION: A site where fans can create Spotify playlists and send them to fans on the other side of the world. The 1-1 pairings of people across the globe make it a really personal experience and unique as no one playlist are the same.
  37. EXTRA SUPPORT ACTS DESCRIPTION: This campaign turns YouTube pre-roll ads into a platform that gives 16 emerging Australian music acts a significant audience boost and a chance to perform live on a major stage. The longer you watch the artist’s pre-roll, the more you vote for the act. Here waiting is framed as a charitable donation where you are donating time and attention instead of funds, the incentive being to support small acts by sharing your attention. LINK EXTRA GUM (INCENTIVE)
  38. POP-UP DOUGHNUT SHOP DESCRIPTION: Celebrating the visual link between the Google Home Mini and doughnuts, a surprise series of pop-up doughnut shops were created in key locations in advance of the official launch. Patrons had the chance to ask the Google Home Mini a question and get either a free doughnut or a free product. Unexpected free products are always a big incentive which is why the pop-up is an enduringly successful format to create brand exposure and conversation. Pop-ups usually also set an agenda, in this case the small and convenient size of the product. LINK GOOGLE (INCENTIVE)
  39. ANT MAN BILLBOARDS DESCRIPTION: Teenie weenie billboards popped up across the world in advance of the launch of Marvel’s Ant Man. Giving passers by a taste of what it looks like from Ant Man’s perspective proves they’re experts in looking from a very small vantage point and creates credibility in their reputation for humour, creativity and the capacity to build tiny worlds. LINK MARVEL
  40. SXSWESTWORLD DESCRIPTION: Westworld is a luxury theme park where guests go to live out their wildest fantasies. So, we decided to replicate that experience by recreating Westworld at a secret location outside of Austin, Texas during SXSW. Our social content promoted the event not as an HBO activation but as a real-life trip to Westworld. After a thirty minute drive from downtown Austin on luxury buses, guests were free to explore over 90,000 square feet of space and interact with the artificially intelligent hosts played by over 60 actors. A 444-page script drove the narrative of SXSWestworld and brought the park to life. No two guests had identical experiences, and fans of the show scoured the park to find hidden season two clues. Credibility can be created not just through a brand’s reputation of delivering quality experiences, but also through extraordinary attention to detail that delivers a promise above and beyond what the customer expects is possible. LINK HBO
  41. QUESALUPA MYSTERY BOX DESCRIPTION: For the launch of the the Quesalupa, Taco Bell managed to get social media buzzing about the new “top secret” food. They created anticipation by leaking a redacted press release about the upcoming food that would be launched at the Superbowl. They sent a number of celebrities and influencers mystery boxes and got them to record their response. They allowed people to pre-order the mystery item without even seeing what it was. Mystery is the original clickbait. Starting rumours through a redacted press release creates an initial source of friction that people then want resolved because not knowing is inherently unpleasant. By having celebrities open the mystery boxes a second occasion to connect with the content was created resulting in contagion that would not have otherwise existed. LINK TACO BELL
  42. MARIA GARCIA DESCRIPTION: Nathan For You is a TV comedy series with each episode focusing on interesting and ridiculous ways to get very small businesses noticed. In this episode Nathan helps a clairvoyant attract new customers by putting signs around LA highlighting that the psychic has a message for Maria Garcia. Maria Garcia is the most prevalent females name in LA leading to a flood of new customers curious to discover what message awaits. Taking the idea of seeing a sign to a very literal new level, Nathan was able to get a flood of customers that couldn’t ignore the friction that there was a message waiting for them. LINK NATHAN FOR YOU
  43. BET ON A MURDERER DESCRIPTION: For its new suspense show, “La Forêt” (The Forest), France 3 enabled viewers to bet on who the murderer is, in real time. Teaming up with sports bets brand Winamax, they produced an algorithm that could manage people’s gambles between episodes and during episodes, along with the revelations that the story was bringing forward. The chance to resolve the friction of seeing if you were right about the murderer has been used here to enhance how much skin is in the game whilst watching the show and a good example of how friction can actually enhance the value of the Hidden Box itself. LINK FRANCE 3
  44. 100 YEAR OLD FILM DESCRIPTION: Remy Martin made a film with John Malkovich that no one will see for 100 years. It opens in 2115, when the Louis XIII bottled today is ready. The film is called 100 Years, and it was financed by French cognac maker Louis XIII, who conceived the idea to help highlight the amount of time that goes into their product. Launching conversation around a product that doesn’t exist yet doesn’t have to mean it will exist in the near future. In this case the incentive to wait is to also discover a previously unreleased film, bundling the value of the cognac with the authority that comes from quality film making, amplifying the notion of being worth the wait. LINK REMY MARTIN
  45. SPOILER KILLERS DESCRIPTION: Anyone who loves TV series fights every day against a terrible enemy: spoilers. But perhaps the launch of the third season of Gomorra, the award-winning original production of Sky, can do something about it. The most evil characters from the most evil TV series are taking their threatening ways to social media, menacing those people that can’t keep their mouths shut online and ruin the show for fans. This creates an outgroup of the undesired behaviour of spoiler ruining, creating an ingroup of etiquette around protecting fans. LINK SKY ITALIA
  46. OTHER PLANNING DIRTY DECKS This was originally launched in the Planning Dirty newsletter join 11,000+ planners and subscribe to the newsletter Strategy Mate Brand Actions Library 2018 Day 1 Advice for New Planners Day 1 Advice for New Heads of Strategy What Clients Want Data Sources Cheatsheet Planners Template 10 Best Strategy Papers What is Comms Planning/Digital Strategy