Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Something We Will NEVER Do To Get You To Click Through

The topic of lists came up at the last Editorial meeting (we're quite enjoying using Pinterest to put them together). I'd voiced, somewhat colorfully, my objection to lists that assumed ignorance on the part of You, the reader. "The Best New Shows You're Not Watching!" "The Best RomComs You've Never Seen!" Lists with titles like that make me want to punch out whoever compiled them.

But wait, Scott chided me. That's a reaction they're looking for. Did you ever click through just to see if you HAD, in fact, seen any of those movies. And then, of course, I wanted to punch Scott, because, yes, in fact, I had done this.

Which is what's so insidious about those lists. Yes, people do click on them. Well-meaning and earnest people who think, Well, maybe I haven't seen those movies, and in the end they wind up rewarded with suggestions for movies that they had not, in fact, seen. Or savvy (and maybe a little self-aggrandizing) cinephiles who click out of irritation just to see how many things on the list they/we (okay, I) had seen. Take THAT, Snotty Movie Marketers.

But dammit, just because it's smart marketing with an established history of effectiveness, that may not even bother most people that its targeting, doesn't mean it sits right with me. And though I'm not blind to the marketing function that these words serve, I hereby promise to do my damnedest NOT to talk down to you. We will not presume to know what you have and haven't seen, and hope to point you at The Good Stuff.

After some discussion Scott agreed that "Ten Movies You May Have Missed" states the same case just as well, without the infuriating subtext of "You're Stupid!" that maybe only I can see. I told him I was going to write up our conversation. Scott admitted that he'd click through to read about it. Who's the ace marketer now?

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