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Archive for October 21st, 2013

You Can Say Anything

So long as we’ve never heard it before. That’s the one caveat. Because we’ve already heard from a thousand companies with a “commitment to excellence,” companies who say “customer service is number one,” and promise to deliver “on time every time.” We’re practically starving for a new kind of message. And we’ll actually listen when we hear it.

One of the most important ads of the 20th century. Who before Volkswagen would've labeled their own car a Lemon? This was revolutionary. (Click the pic to view larger)

The human brain is hardwired to focus on the new and the unexpected. Familiar is safe, and not worth the mental resources it takes to closely examine it. That’s why our eyes glaze over whenever some business leader starts spouting clichés. It’s not A.D.D. It’s our brains saying “I can safely check out of this part. I’ll come back when things get interesting.”

So when scripting your video, prefer the unexpected and offbeat. And find some way to tie that weirdness back to your business.

If you’re a law firm, you might do a “we’re the lawyers everyone tells jokes about” campaign. And talk about how your clients laugh all the way to the bank.

If you’re someone who invests other people’s money, you could do worse than a “we’re greedy” video, giving “greed” an unusual spin (“we’re greedy. That’s why we’re so conservative with our investment choices. Because we don’t like to lose. etc.”)

Unusual is interesting. Honesty disarms. Without these two qualities, your business might still succeed. But it won’t be because of your marketing.

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