The return, for closure

Though in Hollywood they ascribe it to a 'rehook', a film that lures so many cinemagoers back for repeat viewings that box office takings soar, the 'real' reason for people returning to watch 'Inception' a second (or more) time is their 'need for closure'.

The 'need for closure' is a psychological term used to describe an individual’s desire for a definite cognitive closure as opposed to enduring ambiguity. And ambiguity is what viewers experience the first time they watch 'Inception' on screen. So what do they do? Return to watch it a second time, maybe even more. In fact in the US, one out of every five Inception viewer has returned. And that's no accident since Inception is believed to be the first film to have been explicitly designed to pull audiences back for more. Studio executives say director Christopher Nolan deliberately "layered" the movie with visual and musical puns that he calculated would reveal themselves only on repeat viewings.

What can I say, that's a stroke of genius.

Now the concept of 'closure' has its applications in marketing too. Marketing communication to be exact. Smart marketers use it as a tactic to release incomplete teaser messages that have consumers waiting for the rest so they can have 'closure'. So a print teaser ad that asks consumers to 'watch this space' the next day sees them doing exactly that, 'cos that's the only way they can get to 'closure'. Though I must admit such tactics work when there's communiques involved.

In the world of commerce what gets consumers back is superb value delivery. If marketers can promise and deliver, they can get consumers back. On the other hand if they miss that first opportunity to impress, the most they can have is a 'single' buy. No more. Plus prompting complete closure, the first time around.


Popular Posts