INSIDE NGEN: Bohemia’s Alana Mazza On How Brands & Agencies Can Tap Into The Scarcity Mindset Trend

INSIDE NGEN: Bohemia’s Alana Mazza On How Brands & Agencies Can Tap Into The Scarcity Mindset Trend

In this monthly column with NGEN, the MFA’s training program for media professionals with less than five years of experience, Alana Mazza, media manager at Bohemia, turns her bandwagon-trained eye to the evergreen effectiveness of the scarcity mindset as deployed by the marketing masterminds of Taylor Swift and Fred Again.

I am a self-professed bandwagoner.

As an avid lover and consumer of culture, I love finding a new bandwagon I can jump onto. From daily Eras Tour surprise song check-ins to the outfit checks of TikTok-famous couple Pookie and Jett, participating in cultural moments brings me joy and a sense of wider belonging.

Since Taylor Swift’s departure from Australia, I’ve been reflecting on why cultural moments such as the Eras Tour and Fred Again hysteria have been blowing up more than ever before. And I believe it’s got a lot to do with the scarcity mindset approach being deployed by celebs and their marketing teams, which is amplified through TikTok.

Before TikTok, the scarcity mindset was a well-established marketing tactic centred around the deliberate creation of a perceived shortage, fostering urgency and exclusivity. This approach is typically employed through traditional means, like limited-time sales and exclusive product releases.

TikTok has revolutionised this strategy, turning trends into viral cultural phenomena. The platform’s algorithm allows for rapid dissemination of trends, turning scarcity into a hyperbolic frenzy of hype and FOMO.

So, let’s talk about the cultural phenomenon and marketing genius that is Taylor Swift (yay!). In 2023, her Eras Tour broke the record of the highest-grossing concert tour of all time and the first to yield over $1 billion in revenue. While Swift has been a music sensation since the mid-to late-noughties, TikTok and a widespread scarcity mindset have catapulted her into the stratosphere of cultural icon status, transforming her into an indispensable force as both a trendsetter and an economy-booster.

The tour’s scarcity approach was integral to this monumental success. For example, with Eras shows only in Sydney and Melbourne and none in New Zealand, tickets became near-impossible to secure. (I never want to see a Ticketek Lounge waiting page again!) TikTok creators amplified this scarcity by instructing fans with tips and tricks on how to secure tickets and showing off their planned “once in a lifetime” Eras Tour outfits, while brands such as Glassons and Showpo quickly capitalised on this by releasing Eras Tour collections.

In an effort to answer the question of “is she really that good?”, we also saw a scarcity mindset play out amongst non-fans as they addressed their own FOMO. Popular Aussie influencer Kath Ebbs released a 10-part TikTok series, “Seeing if I can become a Swiftie”, where she immersed herself in the 10 eras of Swift’s discography.

Another celebrity driving TikTok-amplified mass-hysteria is London-based DJ Fred Again. After sending fans in Melbourne and Sydney on scavenger hunt journeys in exchange for tickets to last-minute shows in 2023, Fred took the frenzy to another level this year. In addition to a surprise Sydney Opera House show in February that drew 125,000 ticket-seekers the day of, he also kept an entire Australian tour under wraps until his arrival in the country.

Like Tay Tay, Fred Again’s direct connection with fans on TikTok by replying to comments and sharing user-generated fan experiences, makes fans feel part of a two-way dialogue that is exclusive and intimate.

So how can marketers and agencies capitalise on this trend of scarcity syndrome among consumers?

Step one: Learn from other brands that have successfully woven themselves into the cultural fabric, such as Tim Tam’s ‘Tay Tams’, and Vegemite and Tooheys welcoming Taylor and her NFL-star boyfriend Travis Kelce on airport billboards.

Step two: Stay culturally connected. Dive into podcasts like Shameless and Culture Club that also provide potential socio-political discourse surrounding trends. Follow Instagram accounts like @deuxmoi, @thecut, @betootaadvocate, and @dietprada to stay in the cultural loop. And ensure you’re still turning to traditional news outlets to stay informed on cultural trends.

So, in a world of ever-expanding cultural phenomena and marketing marvels, be ‘fearless’ and exercise your brand’s voice in cultural conversations.

Alana Mazza is a media manager at Bohemia and an NGEN Sydney Committee member.

Check out the rest of the Inside NGEN series:

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