Michael Jackson, often referred to as The King of Pop or simply MJ, is one of the most entertaining individuals in the history of the entire world. Armed with more awards than any aspiring artist could ever dream of, he produced hit songs over forty years ago in 1970, such as “ABC”, “I want you Back”, and “I’ll Be There.” Michael continued to dominate the 80’s when he wrote songs such as “Thriller”, “The way you Make me Feel” and co-wrote “We are the World” with Lionel Richie in an attempt to help raise money for charity. Even into the early 90’s Jackson’s glamor was simply unmatched, as he set the foundation for future Super Bowl halftime shows with a flashy show in 1993 during Super XXVII, the first time ever a network actually gained viewers during the half time performance. However, as with all iconic celebrities, Jackson had a multitude of problems to deal with himself.
After a strict, vicious childhood, Jackson dealt with multiple child sexual abuse scandals, both of which he was never convicted in, as well as a huge public controversy over his skin tone. Michael Jackson was found dead on June 25, 2009, the autopsy revealed it was a homicide from cardiac arrest; his physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the drugs. When Jackson died in 2009, it triggered a social media outburst of grief, with nearly one billion people watching the Memorial Service online. From the sheer amount of fans Jackson had and still currently has, if a social media site were to catch on that featured Jackson, the possibilities would be endless.
Before any idea can be developed, the audience and demographics must be taken into account for first. Since the death of Michael Jackson was so popular, companies actually took polls and notes from their audiences when they tuned into the Memorial Service. CNN (2009) polled over one thousand Americans to try and understand the demographics of MJ fans better. Michael Jackson fans were split relatively evenly among gender, with 52% of fans being male. Almost every person over 55 was not a MJ fan, while his hottest age demographic were age 39-49. Even the young generation who was not really around during his peak still considered themselves fans. Over ? of non-Caucasian respondents claimed they were MJ fans, while a majority of white respondents claimed they were.
It is important to note that these were taken via telephone call, not the internet in any way. The key is to take these demographics and integrate them with internet users, particularly internet users. From my internet marketing textbook titled E-Marketing, by Judy Strauss and Raymond Frost (2009), the average demographic of an internet user is age 19-35, white, educated, and an average income around $75,000. However, the African-American segment of the race demographic is growing the fastest of any. Mixing the two of these, the potential client base would be highest if it were aimed towards young to middle aged adults, with a very strong common bond that unites everyone on the website, Michael’s music.
I think it would be considered a crime if you attempted to try to start a relationship type of website with Michael Jackson’s name all over it, or at least the PR and media would tear it down to the bone, but perhaps any attention, good or bad, is considered advantageous when your business is still in its early stages. Anyway, the idea I would propose would be an all-out fan club for Michael Jackson. There is a site or two like this already, but it is very poorly done. It would have trivia contests, best dancing contests, look-alike contests, name that tune contests, etc. The key to the website would be the amount of users on it, which allows the user to become interactive with the website. I think that would appease to the younger population, uploading constant photos and videos, watching them, etc.
For the older generation, there needs to be videos of old Michael Jackson performances, classics. The live performance at the super bowl, the vintage Jackson 5, the numerous Grammy awards, etc. From those videos, other current events in the world at that time would show. It would seem as if the user it going backwards in time, exploring Michael’s life, but in reality, the user connects epic, surreal moments from Jackson’s life, just as if he is re-living his own life thirty years ago. I think there would be two people who would go to the site, younger, less passionate fans of Michael who would go there for the social aspect and the older, less social media intense, but very Michael and music heavy users.
Perhaps it is a stretch, but there are already so many niche social media networks out there, it is tough to fully see what works best. As with any business, it is not going to be perfect right away, the key is to constantly listen to users to help edit the site that appeals to the masses. There are a ton of 35-50 year olds out there who really loved there music during the 70-80’s, especially Michaels’s. The thing is that most men that age do not even really know the first thing on how to let alone accurately use, set up a Facebook account. The navigation would have to be so simplistic, that senior citizens could not even lose their ways. You would advertise with other huge artists of the time, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc. Before you know it, you have created a social network for older generation men who want to get home from their honest days’ work, light a cigarette, drink a beer and listen to the king.
Strauss, J., & Frost, R. (2009). E-marketing (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Poll: Majority of Americans are Michael Jackson fans – CNN. (2009, July 3). Featured Articles from CNN. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from http://articles.cnn.com/2009-07-03/entertainment/us.jackson.poll_1_michael-jackson-fans-new-national-poll?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ