Beyoncé used a military doctrine to ensure ‘Surprise’ broke records

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‘Surprise’ album and its military might

In order for Beyoncé to score a number 1 album, she needed to do something unbelievable. The strategy she relied on is comparable to a well-known military doctrine that U.S forces have used in past wars. Let me elaborate on this.

When ‘Surprise’ was launched, it created an earthquake of debate. Team Beyoncé launched an overwhelming blitz which included a whopping 17 music videos all on the same day. This was an unprecedented marketing ‘assault’ on the web, which in turn fuelled massive debate worldwide. The entertainment industry has never quite seen such approach, and it’s been an absolute success so far.

So what is this military doctrine I’m on about? It’s called ‘Shock And Awe’. Remember the 2003 Iraq war? When US and Britain launched strikes on Baghdad, this term was used to illustrate an overwhelming use of force targeted within a short space of time. Essentially this tactic was executed in order to create a rapid dominance effect, to paralyze Saddam’s air defenses, crush morale on the ground, and divide his army units so that ground forces could then move in. It was also a propaganda tool in that it was visually haunting. A sky blazing as a city was literally bombarded by a continued un-relenting airstrike, reported on TV worldwide : Everyone saw that, and no-one could hide from it.

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Now switch this into a positive context: What Beyoncé and her team did was to launch a ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign with unprecedented force to promote her album and give it the maximum exposure on the internet. In that strategy, 17 music videos were used as ‘weaponry’, overwhelming the senses of her fans who were so surprised by it that they went literally ‘nuts’ with popcorn excitement. Bloggers and journalists were also caught off guard and responded with equal amazement. They had to! It became a trend almost within the hour!

Here are just a few examples of her shock and awe videos:

Then, the re-bound effect from that launch was felt, and people who had been influenced by the ‘blitz’ were adding to the fire day-by-day. As even more news spread about Beyonce’s amazing launch, even more people got excited and, of course, wanted to get a hold of her album.

As of today, Beyonce’s ‘Surprise’ has smashed album records, and is set to reach over 800,000 unit sales worldwide in just 3 days. That includes over 600k copies sold in the US alone. Her team have done an exceptional job in bringing together all those creative elements and timing it so that they could be delivered effectively. It’s one of the most impressive feats of marketing I’ve seen. It’s also very creative, and a visual splendour. All these people have such great talent!

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