Viral Anger

My parents came over yesterday so that my dad could, yet again, replace one of my sprinkler heads. I’m still not entirely sure if there’s a problem with my sprinklers or if my dad has a secret crush on someone at Home Depot. But my lawn has never looked better.

Anyway, we started talking about the state of the world and my dad mentioned something about reading an article that talked about how anger is contagious.

I immediately agreed with him and had a flashback to a time in my old neighborhood when a neighbor turned me in for having firewood on the side of my house and not behind my fence (I know…how dare I?). This made me want to turn in every little issue I saw around the ‘hood. I didn’t do it, but I could see how one little tattle could have a domino effect.

It annoyed me and that meant that I wanted to annoy someone else.

And then I saw this today:


Which completely proved what my parents and were discussing yesterday. This is going viral because our president has few talents, but one that he does possess is the ability to anger a lot of people and “get ratings” (exactly the qualities you want in a leader).

The bottom line is that however you feel about the president, there’s no denying that he gets your attention.

What does this have to do with marketing?

Marketing is designed to make you feel SOMETHING. Love, pity, sadness, joy…any strong emotion that will make you remember the product or message and encourage you to share it.

Unfortunately, nothing makes us feel more…something…than anger. And maybe not just anger: self-righteousness? Smugness? After all, how many marketing emails that say “Sale Only Today!” do you open? What about “OOPS! We really screwed up”?

Of course you’re going to open the second one! How did they screw up? How will that make me feel better about myself? Even better – was there a typo in the subject line that will make me feel superior???

This is a marketing tactic that makes me incredibly sad…but there’s no denying that it works.

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