Why in the wind is the weather so scary.

If you’re like me, and you get your daily weather report from The Weather Channel’s Weather.com, then you might think the sky is falling.  Literally.

Take a look at the headlines that have appeared on the homepage over the last week:

  • Why Scientists Are Worried About Yellowstone
  • Tropical Threat, The Next Move
  • Most Powerful Earthquake in Decades Hammers California
  • Entire Town Running Out of Water
  • Gulf of Mexico:  Tropical Threat Ahead
  • WARNING:  Threat Brewing in the Gulf
  • Dangerous Storms Ahead

Scary, right?  Not a single positive, good times, sunny day, headline in the bunch.


Because someone at The Weather Channel knows that a prime motivator for the consumer is fear.

If a business, any business, can scare you a bit, you’re much more likely to click on an article, sign up for information, or hand over your credit card and buy, buy, buy.

It’s a simple sales formula:

Find out what makes your customer anxious, and give them the antidote for that anxiety.

And there is no question that it works. Like others who have employed this tactic, Weather.com has exploded over the last several years since they started haunting their audiences with headlines and unilaterally naming winter storms, and is now the 28th most trafficked site on the web.  Yep, it gets more traffic than the NY Times, Yelp and the most popular porn sites.

“Whether” or not this fear based marketing is appropriate for the non-profit Weather Channel is another story.

But if it works, is there a way for you to scare the beejesus and the bucks out of your potential customers?

Sure there is.

You might threaten them with a tsunami or even a Sharknado, by telling them . . .

  • There are only a limited number of performances that you can see.
  • There are only a limited number of GREAT SEATS that you can buy. (Over and over we hear from Broadway consumers that seat location is even more important than price)
  • This actor/actress/cast may never, ever be on Broadway stage ever again.  Or as I call it, The Streisand 17 Farewell Tours tactic.
  • Everyone else is seeing this show, and will be talking about this show, so do you want to be left out?

Don’t be afraid to put a little fear into your marketing.  You just may find that the right scare tactic “makes it rain” at your box office.

(If you want more tips on writing a great headline, here’s a tip for you.)


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Carvanpool says:

    The obnoxious Weather Channel marketing is what drove me away from them. Just give me the darn weather, keep the freakshow to yourself.

  • R. Scott Williams says:

    You’re clearly following your own advice, which is commendable! All the promotion for It’s Only A Play trumpets the limited engagement, which of course, scares us into buying a ticket right away. I’ve loved this little play for years, ever since seeing a production in LA starring Charles Nelson Reilly and Doris Roberts (playing a role which isn’t even in the new version!). So I dutifully visited the box office as soon as tickets were on sale, where I inquired about buying obstructed view seats at a discount. I was informed there would be no discounted tickets available for this production, at any time. Yep, I was indeed jolted into considering paying 72 bucks to sit in the last row, but as I’m an out of work actor, I had to restrain myself. Of course, I’d prefer to see the show live, even with a limited view, but it seems I’ll have to wait for an illegal smartphone video to be uploaded to YouTube.

  • Michael Mooney says:

    It’s a sign of the times. It used to be that the US Government offered all of us the chance to live the “American Dream.” Today the congressmen are all millionaires, but they offer only to protect the rest of us from the “American Nightmare” of terrorism.

  • Michael Hennessey says:

    If you don’t read my play, “TAKE FIVE” you will miss this cast. /Users/mikes_mac/Documents/TAKE FIVE/A CAST FOR THE AGES.doc/Users/mikes_mac/Documents/TAKE FIVE/TAKE FIVE .fdx

  • Cate Devaney says:

    This reminded me of the “iron curtain” strategy pulled by the Weinsteins at Cannes Film Festival in 1994 with Pulp Fiction. He screened the film twice early at the festival, refusing to let anyone else see it. If you missed it, you missed it. Then he printed up the reviews and slipped them under the hotel doors of important attendees. By the end of the week it was anyone was talking about.

  • John Marino Gay Twilight CA says:

    Wind scares gay twilight! I was hit in the head yesterday by a tree that had fallen over. It knocked all the clothing off my also! Sharon Stone has control over the wind! She brought down flight 90 into a river. Sharon is currently filming Halloween 3D.

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