bandwagon effect

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bandwagon effect

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:03 pm

I know that the bandwagon effect is to following what being a bellwether is to leading, but I am curious as to how this phrase came about.
Submitted by James Tuttle (Paris - U.S.A.)
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bandwagon effect

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:17 pm

James, THE BANDWAGON EFFECT derives from the idea and expression CLIMB/JUMP/HOP/GET ON or ABOARD THE BANDWAGON meaning to support a particular candidate, cause, movement, or party usually when success seems assured and no great risk is entailed. The original ‘bandwagon’ was a horse-drawn wagon bearing a brass band, used in a circus parade, which first appeared in the U.S. in the first half of the 19th century. In the 2nd half of the 19th century, P.T. Barnum and other showman brought the bandwagon to the level of an art form with the sides of the high wagons being embossed with elaborate, colorful scenes of cherubs, flowers, animals, gladiators, etc. and the brass band seated on high decks so that they could be heard and seen by the crowd. Politicians quickly say the potential in the device and adopted it for local and national election campaigns.

It wasn’t until the time of the political barnstorming of the Williams Jennings Bryan campaign of 1900, however, as bandwagons with their musicians and candidates rolled through towns and local politicos literally began hopping on bandwagons to endorse and show support and generate enthusiasm for their candidate, that the figurative expression HOP ON THE BANDWAGON, meaning to join or CLIMB ABOARD a popular movement, entered the English language.

The expression is not restricted to the U.S., is no longer confined to politics, and today the word BANDWAGON itself means “a particular activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable, and which is seen as having a momentum which carries its proponents forward.”
<1855 “At Vicksburg we sold all our land conveyances excepting four horses and the ‘BAND WAGON.’”—‘Life of Phineas T. Barum’ by Himself, page 205>

<1906 “Many of those Democrats . . .who rushed onto the Bryan BAND-WAGON . . . will now be seen crawling over the tailboard.”—‘New York Evening Post,’ 4 September>

<1931 “The next serious outbreak was a three-cornered affair between the gangs of Joe Saltis (who had recently hopped on the Capone BAND-WAGON) and ‘Dingbat’ O’Berta.”—‘The Golden Age of Crime’ by Arthur B. Reeve>

<1966 “‘The Mirror’ . . . does not jump on BANDWAGONS . . . isn’t, never has been, and never will be a tin can tied to a political party’s tail”—Daily Mirror—>
The BANDWAGON EFFECT is the phenomenon of a popular trend attracting even greater popularity. It is a result of the ‘follow the crowd’ mentality in which people do something, not based on its merit, but based on what others do. Diets, clothing, and hair styles, for example, tend to be susceptible.

I couldn’t find where or when this expression first appeared, but would guess sometime in the mid-20th century. It is now widely used in reference to advertising, economics, polling, early election returns, the stock market, mob dynamics, and even in research where some types might be feel reluctant to report a result that doesn’t square with other or existing data.
<"in periods of high merger activity there is a BANDWAGON EFFECT with more and more firms seeking to engage in takeover activity.">

<“Critics of polling question the validity of the claim that it provides a true picture of public opinion, and it has been suggested that the polls themselves may influence public opinion by creating a “BANDWAGON EFFECT.”>

<"some polls have been accused of creating a BANDWAGON EFFECT to benefit their candidate">
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Ken G – March 3, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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bandwagon effect

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:32 pm

For more discerning acolytes, there are upmarket versions - the Tijuana Taxi and the d'Oyly Cart.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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bandwagon effect

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:46 pm

And don't forget the "D'Oyly Carte," an upscale version of the more common d'Oyly Cart.
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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