Not too long ago, a self proclaimed Nobel Prize winner, eater of babies and all round atheist wrote an article in which he said he would eat Ken Ham for Christmas.
Turkeys rejoiced, but Mr. Ham himself was not amused. In fact, he voiced his criticism on his own blog, which I will not provide a link to.
The funny thing was Mr. Ham had unwittingly created a surge in traffic to a site that promotes atheism and the eating of babies. In other words, one of the world’s fiercest theists had successfully advertized an atheist voice.
I call it The Barbra Effect.
I firmly believe The Barbra Effect is the future of advertizing. If you want to succeed as marketer, you need to familiarize yourself with The Barbra Code.
Well, Wikipedia calls it ‘The Streisand Effect’, but I think Barbra sounds funnier.
You see, once upon a time a photographer took an aerial picture of Barbra Streisand’s house. The picture can be viewed here.
It says on Wikipedia I can’t just use this picture, so I took the liberty of drawing it:
As you can see, Barbra is living the good life when she’s not a woman in love. She enjoys life so much she sued the photographer for fifty million dollars. Perhaps she needed money to pay the mortgage.
Before Barbra sued, a total of six people had seen her house online. I don’t mean to brag, but I get more traffic than that.
After Barbra sued 420,000 people had seen it. The picture currently headlines its own Wikipedia article entitled ‘The Streisand Effect’.
Well done, Barbra. You sued someone for the invasion of privacy. Instead of fifty million dollars, you go to bed each night with the knowledge that 420,000 people know your pool has the shape of your dildo.
Suppression it seems is a great motivator.
In the old days you would reach your audience directly. These days you provide them with a scapegoat. Or so dictates The Barbra Code.
Let’s say you have a website that for some reason doesn’t attract more viewers than your spouse, your mother and you.
Pick a celebrity to victimize.
It can’t be just any celebrity. It needs to be a ‘Has Been’. Has Beens are famous and rich but no longer in the spotlight. Barbra is one of the best selling artists of all time, but it’s safe to say she peaked a long long time ago. In other words, she’s a celebrity that could use a little publicity. The same could be said for Meg Ryan, Celine Dion or any one of the Cosby kids.
Piss off your celebrity. Do something to offend. It can be in bad taste as long as you can back it up with some deeper lying artsy moral.
For instance you can photoshop a picture of Martha Stewart hiding cookies in her rectum to bribe her guards when she was in prison. You then say it’s a study into how far humans will go to survive, exploring the concept of human dignity. Just throw in a few fancy words.
It also helps to fake surprise when people tell you you’re offensive. The Barbra Effect is stronger when people think your intentions are sound. Never let anyone know you just want attention.
The Barbra Code states that if you haven’t received any negative publicity by the third day, you shall create it yourself: Ask all your Facebook and Twitter friends to share your post. Offer them money if you need to. Don’t worry, this will be the best investment you ever make. Be sure to make your friends comment on your article by saying stuff like ‘THIS IS AMAZING! YOU MUST READ THIS!’ or ‘THIS IS THE SICKEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN!’ or ‘MARTHA STEWART GETS STUFFED!’
Yes, it has to be in caps. You can’t expect to go viral using regular casing. Those days have come and gone.
If you have enough friends your post may go viral. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. You simply call The Food Network posing as a lawyer. You tell them someone is eating away at Martha Stewart’s integrity. After the people on the other side of the line are done laughing you make up a number of laws that were supposedly broken. You offer to take the case, saying you can sue for twenty million dollars at least.
Of course they won’t hire you, but that’s okay. Your aim is to awake the beast, not to represent it in court. If you want, you can ask friends and family to make calls to ‘The Food Network’ too.
The Barbra Code doesn’t guarantee success. Not every celebrity will take the bait. If at first you don’t succeed you simply find yourself another Has Been. Eventually someone will fall for it.
If you need a list of Has Beens, simply watch any episode of ‘Dancing with the Stars’. That show features people that will do just about anything for a bit of attention.
Ken Ham took the bait. Barbra took the bait. Trust me, somewhere out there lives a celebrity in dire need of publicity and cash. Find this person. Mock this person. Offend this person. Do what it takes to get sued.
And just so we’re clear, The Barbra Code has no losing end. You get enough traffic to last you a lifetime and Has Beens are made to believe they are still relevant.