21 Oct

Obsession comes in many forms: celebrity, movies, sport, relationships. The media often say that obsession can be detrimental to our health, impedes on society and its norms. (I read all the time that marketing & advertising is bad for society – I think I have learnt that it’s not). But, is obsession bad?


Personally, I don’t think so. Take the example of movies. Movies make us happy. They allow us to escape, to dream.

Take Marvel comics. We love The Phantom, Green Lantern, Iron Man, and Batman (and heaps more). We also love James Bond. We love Edward (or not), we love to hate the Orcs in Lord of The Rings. I could go on with more examples of love, but just look below!


Fan love, or obsession, helps build marketplace excitement for movies, creates new content for posters, communication, marketing and creates entertainment brands. Fan obsession creates two way communication and crowd sourcing.

Fan obsession in turn creates brand obsession. Brand obsession allows brands to have exposures in different audiences, community, media and stakeholders creating connections and emotion.

Emotion is such a powerful way that brands can connect with us. They allow memory transfer of pure enjoyment through family, friends and online groups’ chat.

Disney is one of the most recognized and largest entertainment brands. Buying Marvel for a hefty $4b actually seems rather cheap when you look at the action heroes that Disney have acquired in this purchase. Connecting with audiences can occur in many ways. But getting your audience fanatical and obsessive is not a reality for all. Having obsessive fans is a goldmine for brands as they will always be loyal to you. They will always love you.

Brand obsession also creates a culture. Where else would someone know what you are talking about if you said, “I am your Father” or “May the Force be with you”, or “I’ll be back”?

Long live obsession.


5 Responses to “Obsession”

  1. tomnobletom October 22, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    An interesting train of thought would be the link or barrier between obsession and addiction. I’m sure a dictionary would prove me wrong but are they essentially the same but with negative/positive inflections? Is it a brands responsibility to control the line between establishing hype, brand continuity and loyalty and selling a product whose repeat use implies addiction and over-consummation? For example, the cigarette package design case. The removal of branding to nullify personal connection to a brand.

    There’s probably 3 blimp loads of research into this around brand ethics. I just liked the relationship between obsession and addiction 🙂

    • edwinaluck December 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Happy birthday Tom! Hope you’re having a hoot of a week! Yes…. obsession and the amount of research on it is interesting, especially when you look at different industries. And yes, you’re right, obsession and addiction can be closely linked. Most of the time brands don’t have any responsibility. They want obsession.

  2. tomnobletom October 22, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Gah!! Just wrote a long response! Curse you phone Internet!

    To paraphrase: where’s the line between obsession and addiction? Do brands hold ethical responsibilty around this with their output?

    Where does an objective of establishing brand loyalty go too far? Entertainment brands have the potential for dangerous levels of over consumption. Will there be a point where the brand imagery will have to be stripped like a cigarette packet and ‘danger’ logos posted around it?

    There’s probably 20tonnes of research into it, that’s just a pondering thought 🙂

  3. Christopher Hall November 9, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    Hi Edwina, I like your blog. I’ve just read some of your articles here for the first time courtesy of a link via LinkedIn. Very interesting.

    Forgive my obsession with punctuation, but I suspect you are missing an apostrophe in your header: “A marketing academic’s view…” (Bonus exam question: Is gramatical pendantry ‘good’ obsession or anti-social snobbery? How about when it comes from a former student? Discuss.)

    I think the idea of “obsession” is interesting when used successfully with a “product” too. It’s such a good example, it’s perhaps a cliche, but love of Apple’s computers, software and now other devices (iPod, iPhone etc) for many trancends the normal relationship that a human might otherwise have with an electronic appliance.

    One of my favouite Apple ads was their original iMac poster, back when Jobs was first back with the company: the multi-coloured iMacs in a circle, with the tagline “Yum.” I liked this ad because it tapped into an emotion that I had never associated with a computer before, creating desire by focussing on aesthetic qualities (and all but ignoring the functional qualities). Jobs’ use of the word “magical” when describing the iPad–before we all knew what an iPad was–is another one I liked.

    Perhaps the Apple story is an example of “healthy” obsession (one a day keeps the doctor away, right?), because, in my view, in both function and form, the products are genuinely good? In any case, it’s very cool marketing.

    • edwinaluck December 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Hola! Thanks for your comments and apologies for my VERY late reply. Where are you living now? Not in Greenslopes I take it? And thanks for the apostrophe thing. I ummed and aahed about that… 🙂 Email me on my QUT mail, would love to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: