Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Boom Goes the Dynamite Timeline

What creates hype? How long does it take for buzz to get started? Marketing professionals lose sleep answering these questions but Brian Collins, a Ball State University journalism student, found out faster than you can say "dynamite." His catch phrase "boom goes the dynamite" exploded onto the internet a little over a year ago and hasn't let up, and it all had a very innocent beginning.

March 22, 2005 - Collins is asked to fill in as sports anchor on a Ball State University student-run newscast. Near the end of a rough broadcast Collins utters the phrase "boom goes the dynamite" during basketball highlights.

Early April - A video clip of the show appears on Ebaum's World

Early/Mid- Bloggers link the clip

May 3 - "Boom Goes the Dynamite" enters Urban Slang's on-line dictionary

June 10 - Collins does "The Late Show with David Letterman"

June 13 - Collins does "The Early Show"

No good deed goes un-punished. Collins stepped up to help out the Ball State news show when they needed a sports anchor. He was clearly put into a situation he was not ready for and the video soon made its way around the world. Now jerks walk up to him and tell him he sucks. Really? I don't think so. The guy volunteered. He stepped up, which is more than most will ever do. I don't think he has anything to be embarrassed about--especially to those who take the time to send him hate mail. Come on, now that's a loser.

Only in America. This is the type of thing that would happen only in America and I think it's great. A pop-culture catch phrase was born and it didn't require Hollywood writers or marketing gurus. It's a perfect example of the new grass-roots power the internet has given everyone. You like something? Blog about it, link it, post it. It's a free market of ideas out on the internets. That's what makes myspace great--it's an encumbered marketplace for odd-balls, new bands, and amateur blogs. It's not driven by corporate hype but by word-of-mouth. Fabrications like Ashlee Simpson stand no chance and that's a good thing in my book.

Don't be such a square, man. "Boom Goes the Dynamite" has become a maven's benchmark--utter it at a party and see who gets it and who doesn’t. Sure, it was born unknowingly, and that is all the better. I'd rather have some sincere hype than something forged by corporate America's greedy hands.

Why? The question is probably being asked: why? Why did this event become so popular? Rest assured, there's probably a team of advertising scientists trying to crack that very code right now. But undoubtedly there is something to shared embarrassment, innocence, and desire. Those forces are something American Idol effectively taps into when Simon Cowel destroys someone's dignity for huge television ratings. Just as many people tune in to see who gets wrecked as to see who wins. Just look at Collins' face at the end of his broadcast, he's hunched over, totally deflated. When the woman thanks him for stepping in all he can do is utter "yeah." You can't script that. We've all been in situations like that. Just as powerful as shared embarrassment is empathy.

What next? In just under two months Collins went from zero to Letterman. And the rest, as they say, is internet history. "Boom Goes the Dynamite" has been uttered by ESPN sports anchors, written into wikipedia, and even exclaimed by John Stewart last night on "The Daily Show." In what has turned into an Simpsonesque "I didn't do it" journey, the catch phrase has reached the very vault of corporate America. Move over, William Hung.

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