You probably heard about a couple in Europe who recently tried to sell a Ty Beanie Baby for nearly $100,000. Their story spread like wildfire across media outlets last week but was quickly put out after being confirmed a hoax.
Beanie-Babygate sparked my interest primarily because I (Kaitlyn) was an avid collector in the 1990s.
However, the story did gain a lot of attention for a story of this caliber. In reality, people sell old items for ridiculous amounts of money all the time. (If you don’t believe me, tune into Pawn Stars on the History Channel.)
Studies show that viral content spreads because it evokes some type of emotion; the most popular being humor, anger or disgust. This doesn’t answer how some content spreads as quickly as it does, though.
In early 2015, the internet went crazy over the “Dress Debate.” The phenomenon started because a few girls were unable to decide the color of a dress and posted about it on social media. The dress sold out in minutes. In one week, a BuzzFeed article about the dress had nearly 40 million views. Several celebrities, politicians and other well-known individuals were publicly discussing the topic, and the story was featured in national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. In my opinion, this was either the result of a slow news day or a fantastic PR team.
Imagine if you heard about the “Dress Debate” in every day conversation, sans the media hype. The story would go like this: a few friends went dress shopping and disagreed over the color of a dress. What’s so exciting about that?
Why do we care so much about these ultimately uninteresting stories? Is there something the general public doesn’t understand about the concept of creating a viral phenomenon?
Better question, how does an average business effectively get their message out in the media?
You could create a scandal to get some publicity. Or maybe you could try to swing a celebrity endorsement.
If you don’t have a celebrity on speed dial, add Complete Public Relations into your contact list.
We understand how the media works. Give us a call at 864-289-9772, and we’ll get you results.