A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 14, 2013
Wow Factor

A product such as a movie or a computer or a car often has a “wow factor”—an aspect that impresses the customer and looks amazing, making the customer say “Wow!” The “wow factor” helps the product sell.

The term “the ‘wow’ factor” was cited in print in 1970, to describe a music trio who impressed at the State Fair of Wisconsin. However, “wow factor” was popularized in 1984-85, in the entertainment industry. The film Koyaanisqatsi was said in February 1984 to “trade heavily on the ‘wow’ factor.” Steven Spielberg, the producer of the television series Amazing Stories, was asked about the “wow factor” in September 1985 and replied, “‘Wow factor.’ I’ve never heard that one before, but I certainly hope there is.”

“Wow factor” was heavily used in the 1990s in the computer industry.


29 September 1970, Boston (MA) Herald-Traveler, “Hub-Bub” by J. J. Smith, pg. A9, col. 3:
The “Wow” Factor: The Jack D’John Trio already has been invited back for the 1971 State Fair of Wisconsin because, in the words of the bossman there, the trio “was certainly the entertainment highlight of the 1970 State Fair.”

3 February 1984, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “‘Koyaanisqatsi’ unique film form” by David Foil, Films, pg. 1, cols 4-5:
Koyaanisqatsi is artful sensory overload about 20 years too late to really knock our socks off. It will trade heavily on the “wow” factor among educated moviegoers, and it will, I imagine, have quite a vogue.

16 July 1984, Sunday Advocate, (Baton Rouge, LA), pg. 1B masthead:
“Wow" factor
Columnist Ellen Goodman says the nomination of Geraldine Ferraro has caused the first genuine goosebumps of the 1984 election.
14B

Google News Archive
13 September 1985, The Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), “Spielberg thinks show will be truly amazing,” Fall Preview Section, pg. 8, col. 1:
Asked if “Amazing Stories” would have the sort of “wow factor” that “Miami Vice” provided NBC last season. Spielberg replied: “‘Wow factor.’ I’ve never heard that one before, but I certainly hope there is.” He also hopes it will last. “I hope the ‘wow’ grows...as opposed to being ‘wow, wow, wow, unnh.’”

Google News Archive
29 September 1985, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “A TV junkie returns to his roots” by Barbara Holsopple, TV3, col. 2:
And a few have what the filmmaker (Steven Spielberg—ed.) calls “a wow factor.” Sort of. A TV producer has to be careful about the wow factor.

“I would like the series to hold on for a while, rather than start off wow, wow, wow. I’d like the wow factor to grow, the way word of mouth affects the movie box office. I hope you’ll tune back in despite the ‘what-was-that?’ week,” he says.

Google News Archive
3 October 1988, The Newberry Observer and Herald & News (Newberry, SC), “Museum’s Approaching Opening Will Add To State’s Heritage,” pg. 2, col. 1:
“The ‘wow’ factor will be evident in many of the exhibits,” says Ganong. “They’re sure to elicit wonder from both children and adults.”

Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)
Film review: Lawnmower Man, The
By Chris Hicks, For the Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, March 17 1992 12:00 a.m. MST
(...)
But the computer-animated special effects provide an undeniable “Wow!” factor.

OCLC WorldCat record
The “Wow” Factor: Cheaper and more powerful software and hardware enable engineers to create striking renderings and animations
Edition/Format: Article
Publication: COMPUTER AIDED ENGINEERING, 14, no. 11, (1995): 24
Database: British Library Serials
Other Databases: ArticleFirst

OCLC WorldCat record
Build the Wow-factor into pension training
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Baltimore : Published for the Personnel Research Federation by the Williams & Wilkins Co., c1927-c1996.
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Personnel journal. 75, no. 4, (1996): 70
Database: ArticleFirst
Other Databases: British Library Serials

New York (NY) Times
Classic Sports Car Chic With No Compromises
By MICHELLE KREBS
Published: April 27, 1997
(...)
The ‘’wow’’ factor was evident as soon as I took possession of the tested Boxster.

OCLC WorldCat record
The wow factor
Author: Sandra Freeman
Publisher: London : Onlywomen, 2008.
Edition/Format: Book : Fiction : English
Summary: Talks about the joys and consequences of romantic passion whatever your sexual preference or age.

OCLC WorldCat record
The wow factor : insider style secrets for every body and every budget
Author: Jacqui Stafford
Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, ©2013.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Summary: A style expert shares professional secrets on how to appear fashionable regardless of budget and body type, offering advice for identifying a personal style, making the most of an existing wardrobe, and knowing what trends to follow.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, July 14, 2013 • Permalink