Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

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Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby strutzin » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:39 pm

To make such a catastrophic disaster such as the titanic there isn't just one cause but a collection of causes. According to a recent post on Printwand called "How an 'Unsinkable' Marketing Campaign Led the Titanic to Disaster", they contend that the marketing program helped contribute to the disaster. :o

It may seem strange the marketing campaigns can affect the sinking of a ship. They don't steer, design nor select the materials use in its construction. And it doesn't affect nature's role such as wind, the number/size of icebergs, line of sight which are all contributing factors to its sinking.

However, words lead to action. It is a relatively simple concept that is often overlooked by experts who look only for direct causes and not the underlining reasons for the causes. If you put yourself in the shoes of a lookout aboard the Titanic, how hard would you look for an iceberg? In retrospect of course you would be starring out to sea…looking for the iceberg that sank the ship. But believing in your company's as well as the media's message of an unsinkable ship, how hard would you look? Would your friends and co-workers make fun of you for even entertaining this ‘unsinkable' idea? Do you think the concept was inserted into the minds of society, the passengers, and crewmen aboard Titanic by White Star's marketing campaign? :?:

Printwand's article makes compelling points about the power of marketing and the affect of words play in our actions. So the question is not, “did the marketing campaign sink the Titanic?" but rather “what other underlining factors really contribute to this disaster?" and "how those factors can be avoided in the future?"

Looking forward to reading the replies :ugeek:
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby Aaron2010 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:57 pm

Cunard and White Star liners were dubbed by the media as 'practically unsinkable'. The idea that a big liner could sink in 1912 was unthinkable, and almost laughable. They relied too much on technology. We still do today. Each time a plane crashes or a ship sinks we still say to ourselves "how could this happen today?" The crew were probably over confident that nothing could go wrong so they did not take it very seriously. Even when the ship was sinking the officers did not believe the ship was in any great danger. A modern example would be: If you were a young guard working in a top security prison which claimed to be escape proof, would you honestly feel the need to work very hard. I would relax and probably sleep on duty.


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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby strutzin » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:04 pm

Good points, Aaron2010... I can remember so many modern wrecks that could have been avoided for the same reasons. I think people want to have faith because it is comforting and do not want to think about 'the unthinkable' or should I say :? 'the unsinkable'. It's so easy to go about not thinking about these things and then be surprised when they do happen, believing the sweet whispers of media, which includes marketing.
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby pat toms » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:09 am

Strutzin,white star marketing did affect my grandmother mrs Shannon who was a widow of the Titanic disaster,any reference to the White Star line would immediatley bring a cold response,pardon the pun.And yes all the Bull about the unsinkable ship was the problem also of the reluctance to believe the Ship would sink adding more problems to the victims.Pat
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby strutzin » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi pat, thanks for replying. I'm sure most people can understand why Mrs. Shannon would respond in such a manner. The story is so tragic and I think that's the important thing to remember as the anniversary rolls in this week. It's been 100 years since the disastrous event and the emotional bonds of the past have since passed (although James Cameron's Titanic (1997) has taken a piece of many hearts).

The point is... We all know that marketing is still very irresponsible today. We cannot overlook this because there are consequences. There is no doubt that there were some pretty strong underlying factors dealing with people's perception of the magnificent Titanic ship that contributed to this story.
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby Dave Gittins » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:23 am

In fact, White Star said very little about 'unsinkable'. One handout, that may not have been circulated, described the Olympic class as designed to be unsinkable "as far as it is possible to do so". There's reference in The Shipbuilder to the ships being "practically unsinkable", but that magazine was a rather expensive one, intended for the shipping industry.

In those days, all big liners were considered to be practically unsinkable.

Unsinkable Mauretania.gif
Unsinkable Mauretania.gif (14.46 KiB) Viewed 5718 times


Our good friend known as Mab found an even earlier example. In 1896 (I think) the US liner St Louis became overdue on a voyage to New York. Her owners told the public not to worry, because St Louis was unsinkable. She was claimed to be unsinkable as early as 1894. Never heard of the unsinkable St Louis? That's because she didn't sink!
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby Eric K. Longo » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:33 am

Hi Dave,

I can't find it at the moment, but IIRC didn't WSL get a little closer to saying "unsinkable" about the Olympic after the post-Titanic refit? There is a period paper or article, probably posted by MAB, at ET but I can't navigate that new layout so well. Old dog-new tricks.

Best wishes,
Eric
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby Dave Gittins » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:36 am

Small correction. The St Louis incident was in 1903.
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby Eric K. Longo » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:52 am

Hi again,

Found it (gotta love Google). It was MAB quoting the NYT, March 13, 1913, which related an article transmitted by Marconi wireless from London's Evening News of March 12 (A Belfast dispatch). It reads in part "....Harland & Wolff's naval architects believe that they have realized the quest of an unsinkable ship."
Not quite the words of WSL to be sure! It is kind of weird to see Marconi wireless used to describe the Titanic's sister as "unsinkable" all things considered.

Best wishes,
Eric
Last edited by Eric K. Longo on Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby pat toms » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:55 am

David Gittins,Yes all liners were classed as unsinkable,and also the statement that all liners charged across the N.Atlantic even though there were Icebergs about,well I suppose that,s what they did.However in the case of the Titanic,on a calm sea the words did not impress me or maybe others as the Titanic sank,with plenty of help from all sources,even with the the white star marketing effect which did not work,it still sank.I seem to hear all the time that some things air brushed or statements made to excuse.The White Star marketing did not impress the people of Belfast,as they did not talk about the Titanic to much until 1992 when the Shannon Ulster Titanic society was formed.Now suddenly this Ship has become a wondefull Ship,instead of a disasterous Ship funny how history changes,my reason for forming the Society was to get to the truth,and not listen to the White Star propaganda which is still,having an effect on the truth.Pat
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby MAB » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:05 pm

Look Here for 1904 news of the unsinkable Cedric.
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Re: Did White Star marketing affect the Titanic sinking?

Postby pat toms » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:41 pm

Mab,Good information from the Washington Post,it shows the Americans were there from the start,and were very knowledgeable on Shipping matters.Pat
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