In Today's world, it is not enough to create a good product and hope that thousands around you will flock to buy it. Competition has become fierce and advertising has taken a new exaggerated form: HYPE.
In the case of art, it is hype all the way. Take for example, a painting last year which sold for a whopping $86 million. No doubt that the artwork must have been a marvelous piece of high quality. But 86 million dollars only for quality? NO.
It was sold for such a princely sum for the simple reason that Sotheby's, the most celebrated auction house in the world, created a huge hype surrounding a painting by the deceased painter Francis Bacon prior to the auction. As a result, the rich and famous queued up to buy the painting and bid astronomical figures for the same. Clearly the hype is a ‘better salesman' than quality.
With this example on art work, I don't imply that hype alone is enough to sell a product, but along with quality it gets the much needed added force.
There are however, some exceptions in which the vacuum of hype alone acts as a facilitator for selling goods. Sometimes, products of lesser quality are sold like hot cakes. This is what happened with Reliance Power a little while ago. Banking on the ‘RELIANCE' brand, this newly formed company sold millions of shares in its Initial Public Offering.
With a booming sensex and an aggressive advertising campaign over all forms of media, people who had never invested in shares got swept in this hype machine. Nobody was immune to this and bought hundreds of shares of Reliance Power, and fueled this ongoing hype. What was the result? A previously worthless company, whose first proposal will only start in 2010, spent Rs. 22 crore on an overtly hyped advertising strategy, which saw its market capitalization increase one thousand fold to Rs. 22,000 crore. This is what hype can do!
There are instances when hype creates all the difference between evenly placed products which are more or less of same quality. It is manifest that Nike is qualitatively at par with Adidas and Reebok, if not better. But Nike Manages to find the best brand ambassadors that fits its image. Nike shot to fame in the 1985 Basketball Season when they sponsored Michael Jordan. In a dramatic break with the tradition where only white shoes were allowed in NBA matches before, Michael Jordan endorsed the Nike Brand in a rebellious fashion by wearing varied coloured shoes apart from white. This created a cult following for Nike and teenagers worldwide swore by the Nike Brand.
Owing to this hype, Nike became the top sports apparel company in the world and today, has revenues much more than Adidas and Reebok put together.
I would like by saying that while you'll require a good quality product to market, this marketing initiative would inevitably require hype! What do you have to say on this? Express yourself at our comments page.