How Did the Sony PS5 Become The Hottest Gift of 2020?
How to Make a News Story Go Viral
If you are looking for a gift for someone special this year, the Sony PlayStation 5, or PS5, is apparently the hottest gift of 2020. But, as the hype on this news story goes viral, it seems you’ll be lucky to find one of the new gaming consoles.
Reports are that demand is high.
That Sony won’t produce as many as expected, though Sony said this story isn’t true.
And people are reportedly stealing them off delivery trucks before they ever make it to store shelves.
As more and more coverage and conversations take place, the demand is snowballing.
Consequently, this creates a cross-over effect from just niche video game buyers who might have been early adopters, to the wider mainstream Christmas shopper.
“Velvet Rope” Theory
But, how much of this excitement is real, organic demand? And, is it possible for marketers to create the conditions for the story to go viral?
Sony is not the first tech company or brand to play this game.
Every year companies try to make their product the toy or game of the season.
Back in the 1980s, excitement over the Cabbage Patch Kids nearly led to riots at stores. Those episodes are sometimes credited with starting the phenomenon we now know as “Black Friday.”
Marketers have been trying to gin up that level of excitement since the dawn of time.
It is not just limited to Christmas. Every time Apple releases a new phone or gadget, they try the same basic thing: blame supply constraints for artificially spiked demand.
It’s a variation on the “velvet rope theory,” in which a nightclub will keep people waiting in line outside their establishment to create the impression that everyone wants in.
What Sony did well this year though, so far, was ride the PS5 wave. They spotted the trending story and jumped to it.
Did you hear the one about the Taiwanese guy who told his wife that his PS5 was an air purifier? But she found out and sold it on him!
Of course you did. Because it has been all over local, national and international news and on social media – people couldn’t get enough of this story.
Perhaps Sony didn’t purposefully make too few PS5 devices. But, would it surprise you if they did?
On the other hand, if Sony heard about the air purifier guy and didn’t try to promote the hell out of that story their comms team might be committing marketing malpractice.
A Litte Controversy
Consider the fact that it all started with a Facebook post from the buyer of the secondhand Sony PS5. The post has since received 7,000 interactions. There are more than 1,000 comments on the post, and more than 4,000 shares. Someone from Sony had to see this and think, “we’ve got something here.”
If you are a toy manufacturer, or wanted your product to go viral, you wouldn’t mind too much if there was a line outside Walmart to get it.
And, you’d sure as heck like the public to know about that. So, maybe a quick call to the local newspaper or tv station, or perhaps a few posts on social media.
Same principle here. A little controversy isn’t always bad.
Frankly, Sony could probably go even further. For that matter, other brands could hop on that bandwagon too.
Remember last year when the “chicken wars” broke out between Chik-fil-a and Popeyes. Then, Wendy’s got in on the action? That story lasted weeks and Popeyes literally sold out of chicken. All from a well-timed and creative set of tweets.
How else might this Sony PS5 battle evolve? Hit the comments below.