The world may not have ended on May 21st 2011, but Harold Camping surely secured a place for himself in our history books as the man who convinced [some of] the world that the beginning of the end was near. Though it wasn’t the first time he made such predications, it was, perhaps, the first time that such an elaborate advertising initiative was implemented for such an occasion.
Through billboards, advertisements on buses, and the infamous camping trailer that transported dedicated followers spreading the message, “Judgment Day – the Bible guarantees it,” how could you not take notice of the FamilyRadio.com campaign? Whether you emptied your life savings in preparation for the rapture, were a little nervous around 6pm or did not buy into it at all – the nation was talking about Harold Camping and his radio station.
Regardless of Campings’ [clearly] incorrect prediction about the end of the world – one must give him credit for the sheer genius of his marketing campaign. Social media was a-twitter about the predictions sparking end of the world parties and hash tags like #rapture. People even spent their life savings to purchase billboards! But, the true magnificence of the FamilyRadio.com marketing campaign wasn’t the message itself; it was the viral nature at which it spread. Everyone from the Huffington Post, as seen in this article, to this post from National Geographic continue to talk about Harold Camping and FamilyRadio.com.
Print, online, and broadcast media all covered the “end of the world predictions.” So, did Harold Camping truly believe that the end was near or was his radio show desperate for more listeners and more money? Probably both.
Regardless of the hoopla Camping caused, it is essential to give a nod to the art of marketing. Camping and FamilyRadio.com prove yet again that it’s not what you’re selling; it’s how you sell it.
*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce