On Blackhawks and Bandwagons

With the Blackhawks within one win of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Chicago for the first time in almost half a century, all sorts of fans have come out of the woodwork to embrace the team.  In every neighborhood of the city this weekend, despite the June temperatures, people walked around wearing authentic long sleeved jerseys or crisp new t-shirts.  This is a classic case of bandwagon-jumping.

Element 79 Chicago Advertising Dennis RyanAnd it’s a good, good thing.

Getting people to jump on a bandwagon requires exceptional persuasive skills, and the phenomenon is not limited to sports teams.  The best advertising does that too–it makes you want to join something, jump into a movement, grab your seat on the bandwagon…

“Sure they look like antifreeze, but everyone’s drinking Appletinis…”

“Actually, I do care which manufactured popstar wins on Idol so I’m gonna spend my change and vote!”

“Yes, they’re expensive to buy and costly to repair, but all the best kitchens have Sub Zero refrigerators.”

Creating the perception that any brand is part of something larger gives them staying power in our highly-distracted world.  The same emotion that makes a Hawks fan high five strangers as they leave the Stadium leads Jeep drivers to toss a salute when they pass other Jeeps.

And this behavior, more than anything else, argues for the convergence and strategic integration of social PR with mass advertising.  When you can promote an idea and then offer people ways to actively participate in that idea, you’re on your way to creating a bandwagon.

Hopefully the Chicago Blackhawks bandwagon will be jumping Wednesday night.  Come on…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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