If you have missed the last few episodes of Breaking Bad, you are probably hiding from the countless news articles and blog posts about them. Not to mention the spoilers and hints about the final episode coming out September 29th.
Well don’t worry; you can come out of hiding. Studies by a few UC San Diego psychology researchers show that spoilers do not in fact ruin the final story for you.
UC San Diego psychology researchers Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt wanted to test if being spoiled hurt someone’s enjoyment of a story. So they took 30 test subjects and let them read 12 short stories by famous authors. Some just read from the beginning, while others read with a paragraph beforehand that ruined the ending or major twist in the piece. In almost all cases, the reader liked the story more when they had a little preview of what was going to happen. Here’s a graph of people’s enjoyments whether they were spoiled, or not, for 12 stories.
This concept can be used for anything that is being marketed aside from tv shows or books, but considering the crazy amount of hype leading up to the final episode of Breaking Bad, we will concentrate on that.
Vince Gilligan (the writer) has been dropping hints in interviews left right and center for this final episode. Some might say it’s a bad thing, but according to statistics it’s not! As if we didn’t already realize Vince knew what the hell he was doing by creating what is said to be the best TV series EVER, he has proven lately the extent of his impeccable marketing tactics.
By giving clues (such as his comment about main character Jessie Pinkman, “The student may threaten to become the teacher” or another hint dropped, “In these final four episodes, a great many chickens will come home to roost for Walt”) Gilligan has literally driven the Breaking Bad audience wild. The last episode reached an extortionate 6.4 million viewers, and that is still 2 episodes away from the final. Gilligan literally has his viewers hanging on the edge of their seats because of the discrete but meaningful hints he has been giving out. Not only is the anticipation rising, but the social following and online involvement as far as final episode 'theories' and 'predictions' are concerned has sky rocketed.
For successfully marketing an upcoming product, take advice from the legendary Vince Gilligan. Start ‘accidentally’ letting your tongue slip to your target audience.
...And for those of you writers keeping your entire storyline in the down low in an attempt to build anticipation; you’re doing it wrong.