March 6, 2021

The secret formula of the greatest successes | Culture

The secret formula of the greatest successes | Culture

Star Wars It arrived in US theaters in May 1977 and in a few weeks it became a global success. Queues in the rooms and applause for his young director, George Lucas. But the film, which was presented as a science fiction film, was not so new. It hid a magic potion very familiar to the young public: it drank directly from a television phenomenon in the US as Flash Gordon, passion of many children of the fifties -such as Lucas himself- and resembled in his approach to the lengths of the West. So that was a spatial western and there is not a film genre more American than the cowboy movies.

That theory of familiarity is what the journalist defends The Atlantic Derek Thompson in his essay Hit creators How to succeed in the era of distraction (Captain Swing), to explain why Justin Bieber or Beyoncé have conquered the universe, why lately we only have superhero sagas on the card or why a tweet can become viral.

The key is that all successes remind us of something we like previously. According to the journalist, most consumers are simultaneously neophilic; that is, curious to discover new things, and deeply neophobic; that is, fearful of the too new. In this sense, Thompson explains why the big studios are still betting on superhero films, and one could go further with films like Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of Queen – who does not know Freddie Mercury and has his letters wailed? -. Also, with a success as brutal as that of the singer Rosalía, which offers singularity and originality in something apparently as ancestral as flamenco: once again, the neophilic in perfect balance with the neophobic.

This is compounded by the theory of benign transgression, which is what happens with jokes that really make fun: they transgress the norm or the expectation, but they do not involve threats of violence or emotional anguish. "A good comedian pursues impropriety and tickles with his play on words, but does not come to deeply hurt social norms, "writes Thompson.

The same happens with those tweets or Facebook posts that can reach millions of people. "We adopt the ideas and writing styles that are most successful to obtain more positive results, such as retweets or followers. We learn how to give people brilliant reasons to believe that what they already believed before is wonderful, "Thompson maintains by e-mail, for whom success in networks lies in" appealing not only to your audience but to your audience. "

The reef of the false

In these keys is where your calls are found fake news that spread without control over networks like WhatsApp. Thompson emphasizes: "We all get caught up in what is somehow familiar to us. And we usually gravitate around news that we already want to believe. This is how the fake news : the user who shares it feels that what is false is true ".

In the book this journalist influences, in any case, that achieving success today is not as easy as in the era of the Impressionists and not even as easy as in the seventies. Actually, nobody has a magic wand. Now, as he says, "if you get a hit, It's going to be much bigger than in all of history because audiences are global. A hit today is much more successful than a number one in 1950. "

And it could be shared on that social network called Facebook that still continues to attract millions of Internet users despite the complaints of fraudulent use of data and transmission of fake news "It is likely that many users consider Facebook increasingly boring, but maybe we are not very interesting," Thompson says. And Mark Zuckerberg knew how to see that so familiar and, a priori, Little innocuous, we liked it.

The unexpected bombing of Radiohead

Kid A It is a strange album with songs without a single chorus. The furthest from those who usually achieve success by catchy. He managed to sell one million copies and was number one in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland. According to Thompson, this album would not have gotten such applause had it been the first of Radiohead. "The previous work had already bought the attention of the public", writes the journalist. The same thing happened to Bruce Springsteen, with Born to Run, that was his third album; Sgt. Pepper's, of the Beatles, which was the eighth; or Lemonade, of Beyoncé, which was the sixth. "These artists produced their most striking work after having passed a certain threshold of fame."


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