Recently, I was watching a documentary on lost media and realized it had a lot of value in the marketing world. For those not in the know, the term “lost media” refers to media that was once commonplace (or at least on air), but then somehow never got kept in storage.
Sometimes, lost media comes in the form of a movie that was made for TV, played once, then never heard from again. Other times, it’s a song that was released that was popular-ish, but never made traction and lost all major copies. Still more times, it’s lost TV episodes or commercials.
Regardless, lost media has a way of getting cult followings. Today, that’s why we are going to take a look at this phenomenon of obscurity and what it means for your marketing appeal.
Why do people love to find obscure stuff?
In the world of lost media, entire communities are devoted to finding lost tracks, lost commercials, and TV series that are no longer viewable online. The truth is, the allure is actually quite easy to understand—especially among marketers.
Having something rare makes it feel more meaningful. When you are the person who can pull up the coolest, edgiest, hard to find thing in your market, you become the go-to person for tastemaking. Besides, people naturally find rarity intriguing.
Does obscurity mean a product is good?
Rareness does not mean that a product is inherently good. I mean, if you watch some of the recovered excerpts of lost media, some of them are real stinkers. Others are great, but were lost as a result of extreme negligence on studio premises.
It’s important to realize that rare or obscure doesn’t mean good, but that it does have certain connotations that make people buy into it. People tend to think that rarity means that you have something that is sought after—which can actually turn a rare item into something that is sought after.
Believe it or not, some people will go out of their way to collect things that are obscure or hard to find. Why? Because it’s both a hobby and a status symbol in many situations. Finding those connections makes for awesome storytelling.
What does the phenomenon of lost media teach us?
This is simple. People tend to bond over obscure and rare items, especially when it comes to finding them and collecting them. This can be a huge push for people who want to market something unusual, or even start an art line.
Making things collectible, having only a handful of distributors, and hyping up how rare certain items are can help you make more money. You don’t have to have these be “lost” in order to cash in on the same concept.