When you are marketing a business or a product, you learn very early on that you need to have a “hook” to engage an audience. You’ve got about 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention and suck them in. You better make it larger than life, dramatic, and invoke some sort of emotion.
If you’re marketing doomsday, the end of the world, you’re in luck.Â It’s the ultimate attention grabber and taps into the powerful fear emotion. To the right audience, a message of worldwide chaos and apocalyptic horror is moving enough to change plans, develop new beliefs, and spend life savings.Â All marketing is geared to influence human behavior to point their resources in a certain direction. The Harold Camping May 21st Rapture prediction was no different. His believers spent hundreds of thousands of their own dollars promoting his message, supporting his organization, and feeding into the manic delerium.
In case you were wondering, letting the world know the apocalypse is near is expensive. Family Radio, Campings network, spent more than $100 million on the world wide billboard campaign.
But many are left wondering the eternal question…why? Why did Harold Camping promote this message?Â Did he really believe it himself or was their some under lying financial gain that fueled his efforts? It is interesting to consider that Camping’s radio network was worth about $22 million in 2002 — by 2008 it was valued at more than $117 million. Family Radio reaches millions of listeners and viewers on 66 stations across the country, and on many more worldwide. Since they rely solely on listener-supported funding and donations, its important to have a marketing “hook” to keep followers tuned in. I think Family Radio did a pretty good job…
It has been reported that the search term “end of the world may 21st” reached second position on Google Trends days before the rapture was scheduled to occur.Â Not to mention, related search terms “Harold Camping”, “May 21 doomsday”, and “May 21 rapture” flooded the top 10 positions.
Many will argue that Harold Camping was a true believer of his doctrine and that this was not about financial gain. However, his radio network certainly was prepared to continue on in a world where the rapture did not occur. The following day after the failure of the prediction, the Family Radio website was updated to a new design that makes no mention of the previous predictions. Any of us in the business of website design can attest that updating a website with new creative and content takes more than a days preparation.
Monday food for thought. Thanks Wikipedia for all the useful facts and figures.
Blog Post Navigation... Tools for Success…Does Your Website Have What it Takes?Word of Mouth Watering Marketing