Creating Scarcity: Hot Pockets

Related to my post about content as king and the idea that it’s not the quantity of content that makes it king but the quality, here’s an interesting case study on the practice of forced content scarcity. In a promotion with Second Life competitor Meez, HotPockets created virtual Hot Pockets, as well as t-shirts and something cheekily called “Pizza Eyes” that make your avatar look stoned. (Clearly someone is paying attention to niche markets, but I digress).
The trick is that these virtual “items” were only available for two weeks, thus creating demand in the short-term, lest you be left out.
“The scarcity of these items and fact you can’t get them any more actually make these items even more of a cool item to our users,” a Meez spokeswoman told VentureBeat.
So, while I discussed the fact that easy access to content had essentially been eliminated with the digital age, the fact remains that artificial scarcity can be created and thus, drive demand. The difference being that Hot Pockets does have a monopoly on their brand and they also know a thing or two about its appeal to their target audience (see: Pizza Eyes), which is a different dynamic from that of the news media world. Just the same, it’s interesting to see how you can create scarcity of items that technically have no production and distribution limits.

Via a tweet from @karllong

And we can’t talk Hot Pockets without a little Jim Gaffigan…

Hot pockets – Jim Gaffigan



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