Can you say too much in your PR promotions or campaigns?
New research suggests that the less is more adage may not necessarily apply and letting your followers into a few secrets may be the way to get better buy-in or uptake. A study out of San Diego’s University of California suggests that spoilers and hidden hints in storylines don’t detract from the audience experience.
Researchers gave study groups two versions of three types of stories — ironic-twist, mystery and literary — by authors such as John Updike, Roald Dahl and Agatha Christie. One version contained spoilers, the other didn’t.
Readers of all three story types preferred spoiled versions of the stories to the unspoiled originals.
“I was quite surprised by the results,” researcher Nicholas Christenfeld told news agency Reuters.
“Like most people, I don’t turn to the end of a book to see who dies or what happens.”
Christenfeld suggests that while plotlines are important the study subjects were drawn to the work more by the writing than they were the plot.
After all, he says people often reread books or view movies more than once, even though they know the ending.
Consumers like control
The study might have implications for marketers and PR campaigns.
Cryptic campaigns may be clever, but ultimately consumers want to know where things are headed and they want the information presented in a usable fashion.
Movie trailers are a good example; they’re notorious for all but giving the game away. Far from being put off, audiences are spurred on by the sneak-peeks.
Movie catchphrases often creep into daily usage following repeated viewing of a trailer, rather than from a one-off sitting in the cinema.
Peter Jackson isn’t losing the plot
Directors such as Peter Jackson drip feed tidbits and spoilers to build up hype and create a sense that he and the audience are part of the same community.
Have a look at his Facepage page where, despite The Hobbit not being due for release for more than a year, Sir Peter has already put up three videos describing his work on that film and showing plenty of the sets and a fair of bit action. Full images of all 13 dwarves have also been released to media around the world.
However, not all is out in the open. He gives the audience a taste of what they want, but holds enough back so they’re still hungry for the final product.