My £5 Madonna wardrobe malfunction

You may or may not know this, but I’m a HUGE Madonna fan.

Love her. 

Love her music. 

Love the fact that she seems to irritate a bunch of reverse-sexist, self-righteous women who think she should be growing old gracefully.


A few years back, I went to see Madonna at Wembley Arena when I was still living in London.

It was the Confessions Tour and came off the back of, arguably, the best album she’s ever recorded.

And it was brilliant. It fulfilled and exceeded every expectation I had.

By the end (ahem… of the first song) I was up and dancing and didn’t stop until the last note was played. 

(Which was pretty good for the only straight guy in the house.)

The atmosphere was electric. I was exuberant. 

On top of the world. 

I’m sure you know what it’s like when you feel like you’ve experienced something incredible and are bursting at the seams with joy… 

… well, I was like that MULTIPLIED BY 100.

So, I did what any normal person would do.

I bought some cheap merch on my way out. 

A T-shirt… and it ONLY cost me £5. 


Or, at least, I thought so at the time.

When I woke up the next morning and re-inspected my T-shirt I wondered what had possessed me.

What was staring back at me wasn’t quite the fashion piece I thought I’d acquired.

It was black with the word MADONNA emblazoned across the front. 

And the ‘O’ was a glitter ball.

Oh, and it was skinny fit. So skinny fit that I couldn’t in fact get into it.

What had possessed me to push through the crowds and make a purchase that felt so “right” at the time?

Why had I put aside ALL rationality and sense to buy something at this gig even though it was clearly unsuitable and obviously three sizes too small for me?

I blamed it on something that psychologists call ‘social proof theory’.

It basically states that we want things more when we see other people finding them desirable. And it applies not just to marketing but to every part of life…

… it’s the instinct that makes you want your ex again now they’re seeing someone else.

… it’s the instinct that makes you bid up on second hand rubbish on ebay and end up paying more than if you’d bought it new

… it’s the same instinct that makes people beat seven bells out of each other during Boxing Day or Black Friday sales.

People literally go mad. 

Something in the brain chemistry fundamentally changes when you see something YOU want being used or taken by ANOTHER human being.

That’s why you need to use it any way you can in your marketing.

Testimonials, videos, case studies, people queueing out your front door, a booked up diary…

… all these things contribute to enhancing the desire of your prospects for wantingyou even more.

Because when people want you more, you get to fill up your schedule, you get to choose better clients and you get a much better-looking bank account.

When you look like you’re in demand, people will do ANYTHING to work with you, buy from you, get their hands on whatever it is you’re selling.

But the difference is THEY won’t wake up to a £5 glitterball abomination in the morning…

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