Beyoncé’s ***Flawless Surprise: An Anti-Marketing Strategy


What had you been doing when Beyoncé released her self-titled album? Well, I am not sure what I did at that moment, but whatever it was, nobody, particularly fan, was expected the album to came out while he or she had been feeding his or her turtle or while he or she had opening his or her new account at a bank. When the meteor falling unexpectedly, it become one of the most shocking moments of the decade in music and entertainment industry.


Here is the story. It was all started when Beyoncé posted a one short video in Instagram in 2013 with caption “Surprise!”. She shocked everybody by releasing an album, solely on iTunes, without any prior notice. After that, the next thing she did was let social media to spread the news. It is reported that there were 1.2 million tweets in Twitter in just twelve hours (Huba 2013).

While it seems like the marketing team did not do anything, the album is a big success. Beyoncé only need 24 hours to sold 430,000 copies of the album (Tracy 2013). Within three days the album was sold 828,773 copies. Therefore, it is the fastest-selling album worldwide in iTunes (Huba 2013). So, again, was there really no marketing strategy for this album?

An Anti-Marketing Strategy

Jason King (cited in Tracy 2013), a musician and professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, said that this is actually a marketing strategy, or more precisely, an anti-marketing strategy. It is a marketing strategy where apparently there is no strategy at all.

This anti-marketing strategy was ironically an effective marketing strategy, thanks to the element of surprise. There is no better word, other than ‘shocked’, to describe the consumers’ reaction to an unexpected release of an album from a huge superstar with 14 songs and video clips for each song which she describes as ‘visual album’. We do not know what the paparazzi had been doing all this time. Everybody talked about it, from fellow celebrities to fans. Even casual fans and non-fans, like me, surprised by her. She effectively made me curious to persuade me to buy her album. The shocking experience leads people to talk about it and share the message through many media, especially online social media (Huba 2013).

It is a bold move from Beyoncé, a unique step from the singer. The albums from other superstars, like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears or Eminem also released on the same year, but they are all traditionally planned and advertised prior the release date. However, the uniqueness is not only due to the unexpected release, but also the artistic concept of the album as a ‘visual album’. The originality of the album, the ability to differentiate itself from others, become the salience quality of the album. It tends to spread widely through word of mouth (Huba 2013).


Direct Gift for Consumers

Jason King (cited in Tracy 2013) said that it was a strategy to draw attention from consumers by making them believe that it was a direct gift from their favourite celebrity to them. Align with King’s statements, Beyoncé (cited in Tracy 2013) said that she was bored with conventional album marketing. To her, it is a way to become more connected to fans, by not letting anybody but herself to send the good news when the record is really ready to coming out. It was a direct giving from her to the fans, or in management speaking, to the consumers.

Carrie Kerpen (cited in Tracy 2013) from Likeable Media commented that the strategy is about developing a consumer relationship in online world by connecting to them and let them spread the message. It is about taking attention to what consumers want and take advantage on how they behave in social media. It is an innovative marketing strategy from the one and only Queen Bey.


By: Fanaldi Fadillah Fedrizal (Student ID: 215335291)


Huba, J 2013, Beyoncé Uses Only Word of Mouth To Market Surprise New Album,, retrieved 30 March 2016, <;.

Pazzanese, C 2014, The business of being Beyoncé, Harvard Gazette, retrieved 30 March 2016 <;.

Tracy, A 2013, Beyoncé Shows How Social Media is Changing Marketing,, retrieved 30 March 2016, <;.


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