Malcolm Gladwell, one of the few people whose books I usually buy the first week they go on sale, is credited (at least by me) for originating the term “tipping point.” That was the title of his first book that I read back in 2000. Oh, it had a subtitle too: How Little Things Can Make A Big. Difference.
A tipping point is the precise moment when something, or even somebody, makes a significant impact or “is discovered.” It’s when a product that has been slowly building in purchases hits the big time of mass appeal/mass demand and is suddenly a huge success. I suppose a good example of someone who experienced an incredible tipping point would be J.K. Rowling when Harry Potter became an overnight success. Mind you, she spent a lot of time previously being a nobody who sat in a coffee shop writing her books and collecting rejection letters. For me, a tipping point is an elusive beast. I keep playing with it at leash-length attempting to figure it out. So far, I haven’t.
In my last posting (if you are on my blog site, it’s below under this one) I talked about running ads on Facebook and having a bit of a rollercoaster ride as FB first accepted, then rejected each one of my ads. The naked lady on the cover of the book I was advertising just didn’t play well with FB’s conservative mindset.
It has always been curious to me how some media easily come under criticism for the least of provocations. And yet the one medium that permeates just about every household in the USA and, as such, has perhaps more influence than any other is, of course, television. From this box, now flat screen, I have personally witness just about everything that many people consider offensive: excessive violence, pornography, the f-bomb, vivid depiction of cruelty, etc. The majority of viewers find all these things are fine for us to watch on television, including allowing our children to join us for most of them. Yet a non-sexual depiction of the back of a naked middle-aged woman who takes up a space that measures 2” high by 3/8” wide on a book cover that measures 8.5” x 5.5” is censored by a website whose audience is significantly young and open-minded. Was it she who attracted people to the ad? Perhaps, even though she appeared very tiny and hard to see. But then, Gladwell says “little things can make a big difference.”
I ran several different versions of my ad, each time attempting to “tame” the illustration used. But since the book’s cover is exposed within the video that made up the ad, FB felt the ad could not run. The commercial shame of it all is that the ads performed REMARKABLY well for the few hours that each ran. On Jan. 5 the video was watched 414 times which represented 40.5% of the people on whose FB page the ad was placed. The following day, a second ad placed after a slight revision to the illustration and before FB shut it down, achieved a 51.24% return. Advertising experts, I think, would agree that this is an outstanding response to something like this . Over 1000 people watched my video during the short period of time my ads ran. But here’s the kicker, out of that 1000 people, no one made a purchase.
On the cover of the new book I am about to launch (titled, Anchor) there is the illustration of another lady. This one is wearing a robe and she’s dead. I suspect she will not cause me any problems. In the meantime, my tipping point, if ever there is to be one, remains untilted.