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Advertising to those who hate advertising

In the past few years, I have heard the word “hipster” a lot, and although I gradually picked up on the general vibe of the word, a real definition always eluded me. Thus, seeking to end this state of ignorance, I was recently found on Wikipedia reading the entry for “Hipster (contemporary subculture)”.

The hipster ideal is of being different and of going counter to the mainstream. Knowing this, it should be no surprise that hipster culture hates advertising, which is after all often a plea for one to join the masses as the customer of an international brand.

The antipathy of hipsters towards conventional ways and advertising means that it is not so far-fetched to think of hipster enclaves as dense clusters in a graph. Of course, we need to modify the threshhold rule a little to make this all make sense. Hipsters should be negatively incentivized to do something if people outside their cluster are doing it, but positively incentivized if others in the cluster do it. This is because the people in the cluster represent what members regard as like-minded people with similar tastes & interests in craft items, etc. The more people in the cluster share some interests, the tighter the community within can become.

With this model, it is clear that the general principle of needing to convince people inside a cluster to adopt a product in order to get any members of the cluster to do so still applies. Furthermore, the company should do so in a way that seems as far from the mainstream as possible in order to avoid the negative associations that a mainstream-looking campaign might cause. This is exactly what the Hendrick’s Gin company is seeking to to.

In order to attract patrons from the anti-advertising cluster, the company puts on events that cater specifically to the sensibilities of those inside the clusters. Such events may include on-demand limerick writers and similarly uncommon performers, all in an effort to penetrate the hipster cluster. The company’s brand also tries for a vintage feel, playing into a stereotypical fascination with the old exhibited by those within the cluster.

Indeed, the comapny’s product adoption trend seems to align fairly well with those of a network product. The company worked hard to get initial adopters, working “city-by-city in the high-end cocktail trade” until it “really took off in 2008”, when it presumably become sufficiently widespread inside the hipster cluster that a chain reaction could occur.


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