Zoella and David Wolfe

Today’s entertaining sideswipe is all about marketing.

Zoella’s fans are very upset because the Sun decided that 3 inches of her very sensible pants apparently indicates that she is changing her image to be a bit raunchier.  Whoever dreamed this up at the Sun, was not really considering that they are irritating many, many teenagers who love Zoella’s message of :

Staying in!
Feeling anxious!
Looking pretty!
Playing with clothes!
Putting on makeup!
Making lots of money!
Having a boyfriend!

I was called a bitch within seconds of their protests trending, simply for mentioning that it was free marketing, so feelings are running high on this extremely important issue. 3 inches of pants in a newspaper for thick people have apparently become a women’s rights issue.  All this is, of course, excellent publicity for Team Zoe, and so I expect that she will make even more money.  Good for her, if only we could all pull off that level of devotion to superficiality.

I of course, am doomed, due to my persistent interest in varied and original content.  One of my first inner battles in relation to David Wolfe was why I had found myself to be quite so fascinated.  I could not understand why the books were written the way they are, why I was drawn to listening, why I was concerned about how he was actually feeling versus how he presents himself.

Possibly because of the similarities in facial structure between him and I, I see a whole lot more than he would like when I watch him, which is one of the many reasons I avoid watching him.  It feels a bit like one of those embarrassing dreams where you are caught naked.  At length I broke down the reasons why I found my holistic view of David and his methods interesting into the following:

Popularity is a whole lot more important than depth
Depth should be concealed in a brightly coloured package
Presentation can be personalised using subtle, actually low denomination cues
Complex problems should be presented alongside accessible solutions
Whimsy is a useful tool to engage the listener
Carelessness or anxiety is a good method of conveying warmth
Superficiality is comforting and easy to understand for the listener
If you are losing the listener, lower the bar of the content

I have listened to some little known videos, I believe one of our first brief conversations was me complimenting him on a university lecture he had done, which was far more complex than the videos which gain more hits. (this was a very, very long time ago, David)

As you can imagine, after this, I got quite a shock when I read one of the books.  It took some time before I understood why the books are the way they are.  They are a badge, a tool, and a simple way of leaving a calling card to the purchaser.  They simply aren’t a priority.  David wants you to want to see David and  buy products, not buy a mere book.

All of this is very complex and subtle marketing, which he does very well.  I have never seen someone move faster than he does on social media, on the rare occasions that he has, wittingly or unwittingly, allowed me to watch what he does to get support for events. He puts an incredible amount of work and time into fairly mind numbing tasks, and it pays off, which considering the number of marketing tricks he does not apply, is impressive.

So, at length I thought, why would I take seven years over writing a book which I know neither he, nor the public will read due to its weighty content?  There are far more effective ways of getting a message out to a far larger number of people.  My strategy is very slow, but it should ultimately pay off.  My problem is the constant need to remind myself of the bottom line in terms of time.  There just isn’t enough of it, and I do not plan to throw money at the problem.

What can we learn from David and Zoella?  KISS.  Keep it simple, stupid.  Start with a simple concept, employ your creative skills to work on inventive ways of delivering and promoting that concept.  Do not complicate the concept. Do not imbue the concept with too much complexity.  Show warmth.  Show frailty.  Be appealing, even in the face of opposition and never, never engage in discussion if you can avoid it.  That might imply that you are more knowledgeable or ‘better’ than the listener, and this will not sell products.  Impart your enthusiasm, but do not impart your expertise.  There is safety, and money, in superficiality, and if you are smart, you will conceal your own particular brand of genius within it.

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