Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Elective Affinities.

Having been assailed and appalled by reality TV "stars", my text today was going to focus on the fact that since Warhol's knowing maxim had been so devalued, there's a lot more to be gained from the philosophy of being famous for fifteen people both as a blogger and in business. It may not seem much but, given our increasing interconnectedness, if you're famous for the right fifteen people your message will be both very well heard and received.

And then I wondered about the origin of that phrase.

It turns out that "Famous For Fifteen People" pre-dates websites, let alone blogs. It was first uttered here way back in 1991 by Momus a Scottish artist/musician unknown to me. His subject was music but he was extremely prescient about digitisation and The Long Tail and in proposing the music industry should, could and would focus on "small, culty, fragmented audiences", he used an expression that stopped me dead.

Wikipedia tells me that in early 19th century chemistry, "elective affinities" was used to describe compounds that only interacted with each other under select circumstances and that Goethe adopted it as a metaphor for marriage. In 2006, it captures so much that is central to modern business - from the pre-eminence of the consumer through to social networks which are predicated upon affinity (definition: a natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship). It evokes images of conversation, trusted recommendation and self-actualisation.

Marketing 2.0 is all about the nurture, propagation and harvesting of elective affinities.

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