Controversy sells. While this isn't a fresh, or untested notion by any means, I think 2013 will come to be remembered as the year it became accepted as a bona fide and deliberate marketing tool to get and hold our attention. Many qualifying controversies seemed to appear one right after the other in 2013.
A significant portion of us like to see people succeed yet there is a far more devouring and seemingly growing apatite out there for watching our more accomplished members of society overstep the lines and or get busted on it. Call it car crash syndrome and it is significant enough that promoters and marketing moguls appear to be embracing and capitalizing on it.
It would not surprise me to learn that some of the more attention grabbing and most talked about controversies that earned radioactive half lives with the media in 2013 were concocted around a boardroom table. Controversy sells and it matters not if it is a situation contrived or the real deal, so long as it garners eyeballs convertible to dollars.
I doubt for a second that those who choreographed Miley Cyrus's now infamous twerking routine weren't hedging their bets on it being contested and replayed for the hungry masses a million times over in the following weeks and months, or that the invaluable by conventional means publicity garnered by the A&E show Duck Dynasty over the holidays was not strategized weeks and months ahead with the precision of a covert military mission.
A key part of the contrived controversy formula is for the person at its center to continue on as if oblivious to it all or continue to drip feed it rather than quickly shrink away when it first breaks. Something I am sure Mel Gibson wishes his handlers had known more about at the time.
Not to suggest that the celebrious Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was playing by this formula in a deliberate way this year but had he shrunk away when his controversies first began he would be an all but forgotten footnote that might have earned a local news bi-line or two. Instead we got to revel in his hoopla for months and in a perverse and uncomfortable to admit way, we relished the attention he brought to all but forgotten Canada on US news and late night talk shows.
Through it all, rightly or wrongly Ford has stuck it out in truly incognizant form. Given this, don't be too surprised by the results when the numbers are tallied should he run again. We love a rebel and a survivor as much as we loath a quitter and much of the other stuff between tends to loose its shock value with us over time for some reason.
The biggest disappointment for me with the Ford thing is his antics in 2013 managed to take much of the spot light from a truly worthy Canadian icon, Astronaut Chris Hadfield with the clout of someone yelling squirrel at a dog show.
So far I haven't figured a way to apply this controversy formula for the benefit of my Real Estate business going forward. One local Realtor got national exposure a while back from having a home listed next to a house later discovered to be stockpiled with bombs and weapons belonging to a murderer and his recluse survivalist father. I'll keep my fingers crossed, while I remain doubtful that twerking can enhance my bottom line the way it has done for Miley Cyrus.
To all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.