Start Up Blog

Car smash marketing – Rebecca Black

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 20, 2011

I’m not about to make any comment on the song Friday, or about Rebecca Black. She seems like a nice enough kid having a crack at the music industry.

It is interesting how anything has a chance in a zero cost media world. Sure, not everything will cut through, but in 1991 Rebecca didn’t stand a chance. She had no where to put her song (Youtube), nowhere to sell it (iTunes) and no one to spread it (Twitter / Facebook ). The invention of all this infrastructure made it possible. The thing that is different about the infrastructure versus 20 years ago is that cost of entry has been removed. Extremely good and bad start in the same place. And occasionally something unusual makes it through – so long as it is extreme in nature. No-one has placed multi-million dollar media bets on selling Rebecca’s song, so the cost of promotion has been reduced to taking 3.48 minutes from our day, or typing 140 characters. It’s like a car smash, we can’t help but slow down and take a look.

The question it makes me wonder, is if there is a valid strategy in being the ‘worst’? And if there is, how do we make sure we qualify? And if we qualify, how do we then transform?

Love or or hate her, right now Rebecca has 100% share of voice.What that turns into is entirely up to her.

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11 Responses

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  1. Jason Berek-Lewis said, on March 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Can you monetize being the “worst” though? I’d argue yes… That guy who ranted “Leave Britney Alone!” seemed to do OK…

    • Steve Sammartino said, on March 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      It does make me start to think that ‘attention is an asset’ that can be monetized, regardless of the reason for said attention.

      Steve.

  2. Mildlycurious said, on March 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    But it’s Monday, Monday, gotta get down on Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday and Wednesday comes after…ward.

  3. Abhimanyu said, on March 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Nice term you came up with – “Car Smash Marketing” …. great analogy with the attention paid to road side car wrecks. The question here is – Was the smash an accident or done on purpose? Going by her age, and the amount of innocence per mt ton infused by her on screen it doesnt look as if she knew how bad or good this song was.
    But Rebecca has certainly got the internet marketers thinking, some even pulling their hair out… How badly can you spoof yourself in order to go insanely viral?

    • Steve Sammartino said, on March 22, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Thanks for the props on the terminology. In this case I think it was divine intervention, more than some kind of stunt.

      Steve.

  4. Robert Smallwood said, on March 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    While cleaning up my files last week I stumbled across a 1992 edition of The Economist with a feature article on the music business.

    At the end of one of the articles an author states “The digital transmission of music is a passport to something. The question is, what?”

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-11873496.html

    Mind-boggling to think that only 19 years ago there were no MP3s, no iPods and no clue, even from the top industry journalist what was to come in the ensuring 20 years. What surprises are we staring at right now that we don’t yet see?

  5. [...] after reading about 13-year-old Rebecca Black on Steve Sammartino’s Start Up Blog, where he was talking about how the insane viral madness surrounding Black’s song, Friday, is [...]

  6. Annabel said, on March 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    The problem is when you fail at being “worst” and you are only seen as “bad”

  7. Albert said, on March 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    As a startup entrepreneur, I’ve been wondering the same thing myself… how to draw attention to oneself without being

    Here are the three issues I find most troubling about noise marketing:

    1) the noise has to be REALLY REALLY loud (and increasingly louder by the second)

    2) putting anything on the internet or via some SNS means that it’s recorded and can be accessed infinitely into the future… for something like that to follow you around like herpes, seems like there’d be some payback when you’re no longer craving attention, but a positive image

    3) How to take attention and connect it to your business… in other words, yes you have people’s attention, but how then to get them to buy your product, or visit your site, download your app, whatever the case may be… it seems like this is at least as important as getting the attention in the first place (sort of like for CTR for web ads)

    Anyway, thanks for the thought provoking post!

    Albert

  8. Andre Sammartino said, on March 29, 2011 at 1:43 am

    The Onion (as always) offers us some interesting insights/”research” here:

    “Time Between Thing Being Amusing, Extremely Irritating Down To 4 Minutes”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/time-between-thing-being-amusing-extremely-irritat,19791/


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