Marketing painful experiences
Posted by aogSaturday, 14 June 2003 at 11:29 TrackBack Ping URL
In response to a post by Paul Jaminent, one commentor says
How big an idiot does this guy have to be to say that his music is so bad that playing it is torture. This guy hates America so much he's willing to savage his own work to take a shot at them. How screwed up is that?
That's an interesting question. However, it presupposes something that is not obviously true: that labeling one's product as "torture" is a bad marketing idea. Witness the rise of "extreme sports". Or the TV show Jackass. In the latter, of course, it's primarily watching someone else get tortured but think of all the imitators among the viewers. Can even they be dumb enough to not realize that these activities are unpleasant? On a recent trip to the Big City I say several bill boards advertising a new edible product. It consisted of three images. The first was of a mouth with a tongue sticking out. In the second a magnifying glass is burning the tongue. In the third some sort of acid or caustic chemical is being applied (or perhaps lit charcoal briquettes). The tag is that these images represent the effects of using the product which is some derivative of mouth strips that have replaced the breath fresheners with capsaicin (the chemical that makes chili peppers spicy).

In these cases the product is marketed as painful or unpleasant yet they sell. It's likely an echo of masculinity rituals where the ability to endure unpleasant situations. And like gourmet food, after enduring a sufficient number one may actually learn to enjoy the unpleasantness and be left with an "acquired taste". So Ulrich's comments on his own music are necessarily dumb from marketing perspective.