Leon Shi
Leon Shi
Mar 14, 2018 · 4 min read

How Tai Lopez Became Famous: A Deep Dive into his Viral Video

Although a lot of people bash on Tai Lopez for manipulation and fraud, it is ignorant to believe the marketing tactics he utilized were anything short of genius. Because YouTube shoves an ever-annoying, unavoidable five-second span of ads in our faces before we can skip them, Tai brilliantly capitalized on that interlude. He immediately piques our interest and captivates our attention by showcasing his Lamborghini. Moreover, his subsequent statements are just a series of unexpected twists and turns. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I re-watched Tai’s video numerous times to catalog all the marketing techniques and tactics he employed to garner his 67 million views.

As human beings, we have the inherent gnawing sense that things can be better. We always want more– the absolute very best for ourselves. Seeing a Lamborghini is an immediate testament to that truth. Lamborghinis are instantly associated with high status, thereby positing Tai as an idealized influence. Our association of Tai with a Lamborghini instantly elevates his authority and credibility. Interestingly, Tai also positioned himself as a figure of inspirational motivation (another leadership style) since his audience becomes intrigued and inspired. By seeing another individual with things we want, we strive to emulate them and attain that lifestyle for themselves.

In an outstanding use of ethos, Tai commences his ad with “Here in my garage.” The garage looks unspectacular: there’s no fancy floor-to-wall glass panes or a monstrous enveloping area as we would expect from a multimillionaire like Tai. The precedent of stating his garage before his Lamborghini is significant to establishing the thought that he is just one of us, even if he has lavished on “materialistic things.” Tai further builds rapport by engaging with his audience by simply recording with his iPhone camera. By neglecting fancy editing software or equipment, he makes his character and message more relatable and personable to us. By extension, this paints Tai as an empathic individual, further winning our trust to connect with him.

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Then, just 12 seconds in, Tai unexpectedly swivels his cam and flashes his books! We all recognize books. Because as humans, we seek immediate patterns, this establishes an seemingly inherent but grossly oversimplified link that reading more is the key to success. After all, although we loathe reading, it is an undertaking that we can all apprehend. Wrapping our head around descriptions of esoteric legal hurdles and programming principles is arduous, but reading? That’s doable.

Tai also references other wealthy, renowned individuals, like not only to reaffirm their credibility, but to furthermore establish his own, as his nonchalant references reflect his knowledge. Tai’s casual mentioning of reading a book a day and presenting a TED talk only increases the audience’s curiosity of his character. It is these casual, unconventional statements that keep us vying for more in Tai’s video.

As Tai reverts his camera back to facing his Lamborghini again, reminding the audience of their aspirations, he now continually uses pathos to evoke emotion and prompt his audience to take action. Tai lamented on his measly upbringing with a highly-specific $47 left in his bank account. He remarked that he did not have a college degree, nor did he follow any “get rich quick” scheme, all of which decrease our mental barriers to entry. Tai eliminates our defensive objections or notions.

However, his subsequent statement of how unlikely it is to get a Lamborghini tomorrow prompts the audience to think of the contrary: that with hard work, can I get there? The average person thinks they are exceptional compared to others. This superiority complex empowers individuals to think they can be rich like Tai if they follow in his footsteps, which is exactly what Tai is insinuating.

Interestingly, although he already shattered our contemporary belief systems, Tai does not transition to his product or service that will magically serve as a cure to all his future customers’ woes. Instead, he encourages others to click a link to learn from lessons he curated from his mentors. By claiming that he did not want cynics, Tai deliberately polarizes his audience, causing controversy. This in turn compels people to share the video with their friends and family. What’s notable then, is that people dislike Tai, not necessarily due to his content, but simply due to an overexposure of that video. At the same time, only with massive repetition can we grasp true attention in a world of distractions and social media.

By seemingly making his subsequent video exclusive, Tai is calling upon the theory of buyers’ bias, in which we always strive to obtain what we do not have. Tai further lowers inhibitions by repeatedly conveying that his link is free and posing his call of action as an immediate source of transformation. This paradoxically portrays Tai as a genuine character and not a deceitful businessman. We get the sense he truly just wants to give back to the community as he understands the difficulties some of his audience members are persevering through since he has been in their shoes.

Although there were no overarching marketing ploy that contributed to the virality of Tai Lopez, the synthesis of all his techniques and tactics invariably preceded his overnight success.

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