Can we create hype?

This week on Valley PR Blog, blogger Len Gutman addressed the value of hype and if as PR practitioners we create the hype or if we just simply fuel it.

Gutman used the blockbuster movie of the weekend, New Moon, as an example. Was the hype surrounding this movie a result of effective PR by the movies public relations team? Or did the PR team just add more fuel to the existing hype?

While I think that this movie would have been huge either way, if Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner had not appeared on every morning, afternoon, and nighttime talk show this past week people may not have been as excited for the movie’s release.

When Gutman wrote his post New Moon had not even opened yet, and as I write my post the movie has made $140.7 million in one weekend. So I guess it may be safe to say that in this case hype created by the mainstream media may have worked better than anything a PR team could have created.

Gutman came to the overall conclusion that you cannot create hype but you most definitely can fuel it.

I think that for the most part I agree with him. If no one was excited to see New Moon the media would not have been as interested as they were, therefore the hype surrounding the movie would have been much less. However, because people had been anticipating this movie for exactly one year and it stars arguably one of the most famous men on the planet right now, the hype surrounding this movie was massive.

As PR practitioners it is our job to get as much positive media coverage for our clients as possible, and in some cases that may just mean adding fuel to the existing fire.

What do you think? Do you think that PR practitioners can create hype? Or do you agree with Len Gutman and believe that we can only fuel it?

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5 Responses to Can we create hype?

  1. sdoyle says:

    Creating hype really depends on the client or product you are promoting. I think for some clients you can create hype and you can’t. The Snuggie is a client you wouldn’t expect to have hype and yet is a very talked about object, not always in the most positive way but hype is hype. The release of the collegiate line as well as the leopard and dog Snuggie’s have sort of fueled the fire but regardless of if people are purchasing these as a joke to give their friends or because the actually believe in the product sales are being made.

  2. sferrer says:

    Being the second book and movie of the series, “New Moon” already had built awareness from the popularity of the first book/movie. The fans’ contribution of word-of-mouth created excitement for the latest film addition. For “New Moon,” the movie’s PR team responsibility was to increase that excitement from the first movie to the sequel. Between the release of “Twilight” and “New Moon,” I have witnessed Team Edward and Team Jacob shirts arise at retail stores like Nordstrom, Twilight conventions, TV appearances on top shows like Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman. This pandemonium was strengthened with the help of PR professionals. “Twilight” certainly needed the creation of hype because it was more unknown to the public and people who read the books were the early adopters.

  3. astrazzara says:

    There is an important distinction between creating hype and fueling it. Twilight was hugely successful in both films, and whether that was from the media coverage or rock star PR professionals one may never know. However, I think during the time between the movies it was the PR professionals who maintained positive relationships with the publics. There was tons of coverage about the movie and its characters during the time between the release of the second film.

    I think the hype was already starting then. It’s not the PR professional to create the buzz around a new project, but rather us who help foster that positive energy. While I think PR professionals harnessed all the positivity about the movie, I don’t think it was them who built the hype. In 15 years from now, it was be interesting to see if Twilight still has a pulp following and is a “classic” as today’s Sleepless in Seattle or Pretty Woman. PR professionals have to think long-term about maintaining those positive relationships.

  4. ekozak says:

    I really think that PR only serves to fuel hype. In this situation, the stars of the movie were EVERYWHERE in the weeks preceding the opening. But they never would have been invited to/allowed to participate on those shows if the audience did not want to see them. Media channels play to the desires of their audiences. The audience wanted Twilight, so the media delivered. Furthermore, I think most people were interested in the Twilight movies because they were fans of the book, not because they saw an interview with Robert Pattinson (even though that probably did not hurt).

    Even the best PR pracitioner in the world cannot create positive hype about a bad product. So with a FABULOUS product like Twilighit, it seems relatively easy to fuel the hype.

  5. ecain says:

    Samantha- I completely agree that it does depend on the product. I really like your Snuggie example, if there was no hype surrounding the Snuggie, it probably would not be as big of a seller as it is. This is a great example of how somewhat negative hype can still create press and positive sales for a product.

    Stephanie- I absolutely think that New Moon can credit the hype it experienced with the release of the second movie, to the positive response from fans of the first movie. I think that the positive hype generated from the first movie allowed the PR team to know exactly how to fuel even more hype for the second movie.

    Ashley- I definitely agree with the point that you make in this case. Most of the hype for this film was already generated because of the successful release of the first film. Therefore the main job that the PR team for this movie had was to make sure that the majority of the hyper surrounding this film was positive. It will absolutely be interesting to seem if there is enough hype surrounding this movie series to push it into “classic” territory.

    Erin- I completely agree with you that if the fans were not as interested as they are in this movie series and its actors that there may not be any hype to fuel. I also agree that if people universally hate a product that even the best PR team cannot create positive hype about that product.

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