Why is “Closer” by The Chainsmokers popular? External triggers.

why-closer-by-chainsmokers-is-popularI was running on a treadmill the first time I heard the song “Closer” by the Chainsmokers. The pre-chorus came through my headphones. Wow! I started to run faster. I wanted to sing along.

So did millions of others. The band has been nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2017. The music video has been watched more than 1.1 billion times – more than Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself which had an 8 month head start and received two Grammy nominations in 2016.

If you’re a marketer paying $0.30 a view to YouTube then wouldn’t it be nice to trade metrics with the Chainsmokers? People are finding the “Closer” video and clicking the play button all by themselves. The band isn’t paying YouTube for these views.

This post is about one technique you can use to stand on the band’s shoulders and increase views of your stories. The technique is adding imagery. The Chainsmokers used 10 pieces of imagery in “Closer” which propelled it to the top of the charts.

Last month, I spoke to Oren Klaff about a pitch I am giving to several Dallas Fortune 500 companies to build a chatbot. His feedback? Add more imagery. I did, and my pitch got better.  The Chainsmokers must have gone through a similar process. Their song “Closer” has 10 strong visuals which is double the amount than “Selfie,” their first hit song.

The Chainsmokers didn’t use just any 10 images. Their images were strategically chosen to create a craving for the song among young urban trendsetters as they walked down city streets.

Five months ago, in September, I listened to How Ideas Spread by Professor Jonah Berger. He talked about how the USSR launched Marsnik in 1960 to photograph explore Mars. In 1964, the United States responded with Mariner 3. During those years, people browsing store shelves saw Mars on the newsstand and decided to reach for Mars – the candy bar. The imagery of Mars in the newspaper made the candy bar fly off the shelves.

Author Nir Eyal would say this is an example of an external trigger.

The 10 strongest images in the lyrics of “Closer” are external triggers. For example, a person walking down the street sees a Range Rover. The lyric pops into his head, “…in the backseat of your Rover / That I know you can’t afford…”  Next thing he knows, he is clicking the red ‘play’ button on YouTube.

Here is the list of 10 external triggers the Chainsmokers baked into the lyrics of “Closer” to make people play it 1.1 billion times on YouTube:

broke-down-car
Visual 1 – Broken down car
Hotel bar
Visual 2 – Hotel bar
backseat
Visual 3 – Backseat
range-rover
Visual 4 – Range Rover
tatoo-on-shoulder-take-2
Visual 5 – Tattoo on a shoulder
sheets
Visual 6 – Sheets
matress
Visual 7 – Mattress
Picture of Boulder, Colorado
Visual 8 – Boulder, Colorado
blink-182-song
Visual 9 – Blink 182
tuscon-az
Visual 10 – Tucson, Arizona

Marketers, you do not need to wear backwards hats or embrace the reckless abandon of youth to emulate the success of The Chainsmokers. You can stand on the band’s shoulders and increase views of your stories by using imagery / external triggers. For example, if you want people to remember your brand while walking to work then write a story that invokes characters they would see on a city street like a hipster with a disappearing beard or whatever.

Not every prospect is ready to buy right now. But with the right external triggers, they will remember you when the time is right. Adding external triggers to your marketing mix is a great way to prevent lead decay and hold prospects’ attention over time.

 

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