Today I will tell you how Insomniac Events is using temporary tattoos to convert people into die-hard fans. I doubt they are doing it on purpose. Even so, it will work like a charm for the future of the rave scene. First some context.
Dance music will continue to grow as long as the total number of fans is going up. That means the scene needs to add more fans each year than it loses. This is true at the global level as well as the local level. Local clubs need local fans, and global festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival need a powerful draw. Let’s face it. If you’re hopping on a jet for this, you expect something special.
One approach is to add more fans to the mix. That is what happens with EDM going mainstream. Each year, dance music has more fans join than the previous year. But there is another option. The total amount of fans will grow if less people leave the scene each year. That might be a more appealing option. Let me explain.
After you go to a few raves, you start to adopt rave culture into your identity. Suddenly, the unPLUR first timers who rudely push through the crowd stick out in your memory. You don’t like them as much. As welcoming as our scene is, they bring the cultural experience down by being uninitiated.
I wrote in a previous post that kandi and PLUR spreads rave culture through contact. Even non-ravers want to be a part of it. These temporary tattoos will work the same persuasive magic.
The strongest persuasion is visual. Your irrational mind pays special attention to what we see. The first time you wear kandi, you might be excited to show it off. But before that excitement hits you, there is nervousness. It can take a bit of courage to wear it out of the house the first time.
The act of overcoming your nerves and attaching kandi to your wrist sends a signal to yourself and others that you are part of the scene. It is a visual identifier. You no longer need to say, “I love it here.” It becomes a part of your identity on a subconscious level. If you don’t believe me, go look at some of the articles about how resistant people are when festivals ban kandi. They don’t like it because it is a part of their identity, and identity is powerful. Which brings me to the temporary tattoos.
Getting a tattoo is a huge commitment. It’s permanent. It costs money. It hurts. But once you add a tattoo to your body, that’s a permanent shift in your identity (unless you end up disliking the result enough to get it removed). In comparison, a temporary tattoo is a little thing you wear for a day or two and wash off.
But it’s still a commitment.
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I often write about the consistency principle. The principle states that people prefer to act, feel and think in a manner consistent with the past. In your hallucinated reality, there is always a reason why you don’t like changing. But in my world, that is almost always bullshit. All you need to check is how you feel. Ever had to go back on your word before? Then you know the discomfort.
By the time dance music and festivals are a routine part of your world, it is probably getting mixed in to your feeling of identity. Identity is among the strongest beliefs a person holds.
The night of the Carnival, you add a small, temporary tattoo to your body, and then excitedly display it. People approach you to ask about it, to show you theirs, to make friends because they trust you will get along — all based on a temporary tattoo. That excitement associates itself with the seemingly temporary identity you have adopted for the weekend. In the future, you will be more inclined to seek out those situations again.
The tattoo probably also suggests the idea of a real tattoo to some people. If a temporary tattoo nudges your identity, then a real tattoo is a tackle.
I doubt anyone at Insomniac realizes what they are doing here. They probably consider it a fun addition to an already beautiful package. It’s also really good persuasion.
Once festivals become a part of your identity, it can be difficult to shake. The habits get mixed in to your sense of self. Trust me, I know first hand. As soon as you leave the festival, you long to go back.
Welcome to the tribe!