The true meaning of FOMO

I just watched Richard Donner’s 1988 Christmas non-classic “Scrooged.”

Bill Murray plays a heartless TV network president who has to learn about the true meaning of Christmas, in a modern retelling of a Christmas Carol.

At the beginning of the movie, Murray’s character is in a meeting with his team. They are going over promo ideas for their “Scrooge” Christmas special.

First, the team shows off their nice and straightforward advertisement. It doesn’t need to be fancy, they claim, because people already want to watch the show.

But Murray’s character hates it.

“That isn’t good enough,” he screams at his team, “they have GOT to be so scared to miss it, so TERRIFIED!”

So he comes up with a clip of his own, featuring toxic rain, drug addicts, terrorism, and freeway killers. His promo closes with the line:

“Don’t miss Charles Dickens’ immortal classic Scrooge… Your life might just depend on it.”

This scene reminded me of a conversation I recently had with the founder of a company that’s going through an ICO soon.

I asked him what he’s looking to accomplish with the email marketing campaigns for his ICO.

Immediately, he shot back, “FOMO.”

Fear of missing out.

Personally, I think it’s a mistake to focus on fear first.

Like A-list copywriter and million-dollar marketer Mark Ford wrote:


“Proponents of the fear-and-greed approach often argue that the smart thing to do is to follow a fear-based lead with an appeal to the prospect‘s greed.

“But I have found that if you do that, you wind up attracting the kind of customer you don‘t want: someone who is gullible and greedy.

“You can‘t build a business by selling to the gullible and greedy. You can make scores, sometimes big scores. But you will never have a sustainably profitable business.”


In the Scrooged movie, an old woman keels over and dies while watching the fear-based promo because she’s literally scared to death.

And something similar might happen to your ICO investors (and future token holders and potential customers).

Urgency, fear, scarcity… They are important in marketing, at the right point.

But they shouldn’t be the sole focus of what you do, particularly if you’ve got a solid ICO lined up.

There are lots of other things you could focus on in your email marketing, which might be a lot more effective in the long term. If you want to find out what some of them are, go here:

John Bejakovic