Most brands want to slowly build up a semblance of buzz prior to a big product launch, but that could wind up being a big mistake.
Mashable today had a a Blog post today titled, New Batman Clips Tease 'The Dark Knight Rises'. It seems like the marketing agency supporting the release of this upcoming Batman movie has already begun the promotions by getting fans to crack a code on Twitter, and now they're tinkering with a Facebook page and more videos being posted on YouTube. There's nothing wrong with building hype, but the movie won't be released in North America until late July... 2012 (yes, in over a year's time). There's nothing wrong with starting to build the buzz early on, but over a year in advance?
Doesn't that seem a little strange?
In short, it's not... and it will work. Batman's fans are fans in the truest sense of the word (they are fanatical). They will devour, share and work hard to get a sneak peek, so engaging them earlier in the process than what we may have seen before can't hurt. The problem is that other brands think that they can do the same thing... and they - sadly - can't. Many brands look to build some buzz in the pre-release of their products. While there's nothing wrong with doing some marketing and promotion in advance of a product launch, it's important to note that this is only going to valuable and worthwhile when you're doing this promotion because the media where it will be unveiled needs that amount of time to gather the story and produce it.
Trying to build buzz with a teaser campaign is just not a viable option anymore...
...unless you're Apple, or the new Batman movie or something that people are already fanatical about. More often than not, if you're trying to promote a new beverage or have a new slant on your old product, a teaser campaign will no longer be able to do what it used to do. Why? Media fragmentation is happening more and more. Now, brands are competing for mindshare in so many different corners that it's very rare to hear about any teaser campaign that ran with truly effective results. This is what makes it surprising to sit in boardrooms and constantly hear brand managers talk about creating a viral video to tease out a new product.
Are teaser campaigns really on their deathbed?
For the majority of brands, the answer is "yes." From a professional perspective, I'd rather see the dollars, time and energy from a teaser campaign spent towards focusing on the core launch. It's going to be hard enough to get people's attentions in all of the clutter, so why not focus on doing the launch as perfectly as possible? Teaser campaigns made sense when people watched each and every episode of a specific TV show (on a specific date at a specific time) or when they bought the same magazines month in and month out. It gets a lot more challenging to link the teaser campaign to the product in a Web, mobile and touch world that multi-platforms on top of the traditional mass media, while everybody is time-shifting their traditional media consumption patterns and snacking on digital content as they get pushed around on a crammed subway. Unless you've got millions and millions to spend on cramming every corner of media with your brand, a teaser campaign is going to be very hard to pull off in brave new marketing world.
Besides, nobody really likes a tease anyways ;)