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Negative Hype Campaign

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People are immune to hype these days. You go all over the place and see "the fastest way to lose weight," which you immediately ignore since you know there are faster and safer ways to lose weight, if you even need to lose any at all.


"Get rich selling our snake oil and cheap trinkets." This one does draw in quite a few people but the vast majority see that the ones involved aren't even earning enough to go to a movie so they don't buy into it.


"Check out the sickest new beats of the year." Self hype is the least effective, as it makes you sound arrogant and is more of a turn off for people than anything. If you want hype you need to get other people to build it up, not try to do it yourself.


But when it comes to videos there are two reasons people watch them. Either they're really good or they're horrendously bad. Harmonic Voltage on Animusic's official channel has over 800,000 views, which I consider a high number. That's because a lot of effort went into making the video and it shows. The music itself is pretty good, too. A bit repetitive at times, but I've certainly heard far worse from better known names.


Rebeca Black's "Friday," on the other hand, has had over 52,000,000 views. Now I don't want to get a debate started about if she's actually good or not. The song was quickly written (and we all know the quality of songs written in a hurry) for a 14, possibly at the time 13 year old girl. It's not going to have the depth of Mumford and Sons' writing, but I will say she's come a long way from the ear splittingly nasal "Friday."


Outside of the video's intended demographic, which would be pre-teens and possibly early high school kids, the video is famous for being bad. It's been parodied countless times, when it's mentioned in a vlog it's always the subject of ridicule (at least among adults. I don't know what the kids were saying because I think it would be creepy for a man of 32 to go through youtube watching vlogs by 13 year old girls, unless that girl is his daughter, niece, or little sister), basically people only watch the video to make fun of it or to see if it's as bad as they've been told.


People won't buy an appliance that they've heard is bad, pay to see a show they hear is bad, or use a mechanic with a bad reputation. But since it doesn't cost a dime to watch a video on youtube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion they will let curiosity or the desire to have something to mock lead them to a video they know isn't any good.


Then it hit me. Why not a negative hype campaign when you're starting? I don't mean intentionally writing bad songs and making bad videos. Just get people to talk down your video when you're trying to promote it. Peoples' curiosity will draw them in or they'll go to "laugh at the train wreck." If they don't like it they got what they came for. If they like it, well, I've never heard anyone complain about a video or song being better than what they expected.


I tried an experiment. I keep a Xanga blog where I post my experiments, which I then link to facebook to get some feedback from my relatives and a few friends. The other night when I posted a song I had my best friend downplay it.


The night I started writing it she said she was getting a headache and I joked "that's how bad my music is. People don't even have to hear it. They just have to chat with me online while I'm writing it to get a headache from it." She got onto me for "cutting myself down," but I had her post a reply to the effect "I should have known it would be a mistake when I got a pounding headache just knowing you were working on this, but I listened to it anyway."


One of my nieces got curious about it after that. She replied saying that she liked it, but after I sent her a message she deleted her reply and replaced it with "Wow! My dog is trying to chew his ears off now. When he's done I'm going to have him start on mine."


Now normally when I link to a song on facebook the only person on my friends list who views it is my best friend. The rest ignore it (I'm not going by replies. I'm going by referral information on my Xanga blog).


But the negative press started a chain reaction. Soon my brother posted how much he hated it. He either knew what I was up to or he was just teasing me, but yesterday at my parents' house he was trying to pick it out on piano and he doesn't do that with songs he hates.


Then his fiancé joined in. I had to send her a message to get her to keep the negative hype going, so she changed her reply. One of my former band teachers commented (though she genuinely disliked it, expressing disappointment that I got away from "real" instruments like drums and went with MIDI synthesizers).


By getting people to "bash" my work I went from the one solitary listen I normally get to just about everyone on my friends list listening to it. I have 32 friends on my list (not including an alternate account one of my friends has), received 23 comments, and the entry got 28 views, all referred to from facebook.


When my friend comments on how good my work is the rest ignore it. When she insults it the curiosity factor brings them in. Now I'm not that active on my youtube account yet since I still have a lot I need to get together, meaning I haven't tested this out on a larger scale, but if this weekend's experiment is any indication then until you get a following negative hype may be a viable way to bring in initial viewers.

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