Writing

Marketing Monday: Let's Go

Happy New Year!

Ah, January. Ye of resolutions, leftover holiday treats, the last scraps of Christmas cheer lingering like unwanted party guests. I love a chance for a fresh start and some navel-gazing, which probably explains why I've always loved the anticipatory countdowns and the flip of the page to January. I'm not one for making hard and fast resolutions that I burn out on by mid-January. I am one for thinking about the month and year ahead and working on all the things I already knew I needed to work on. 

2016 was a big year for my little business. Growth is good but it's also scary. A few weeks ago I was working on something that had fantastic potential but which also scared the hell out of me. I was chatting with a friend and fellow career pioneer about it and was explaining that I seemed to be following a trajectory that was getting familiar: "*hand is level* Wow, okay, this is interesting, this is exciting *hand goes up* wait, what am I doing *hand starts coming down, like a rollercoaster* oh my god this is terrifying I have no idea what I'm doing I am going to bomb *hand crashes out* okay, wait, I think I got this, I just need to rely on my experience and believe in myself *hand starts coming back up*" You get the idea. So imagine my delight when I discovered a much more eloquent visual version of this insane journey of throwing yourself out there:

Image from john.do.

Image from john.do.

There's nothing quite so reassuring as knowing you're not alone, especially when what you're doing is new to you.

That visual reminded me of another one. I don't know who drew this, but I think of it often, whether in work or in rowing or in my personal life.

These are things I'm reflecting on as we begin a new year. Wishing you good fortune, fun adventures, just enough challenge and fear, and the guts to see it all through.

 

 

Marketing Monday: Brilliant Ad Copy

If you've watched any amount of TV lately and not fast-forwarded through all the commercials, you've likely seen some of these State Farm TV spots. They've ingeniously written ad scripts where the meaning changes completely depending on how the lines are delivered by the actors. The scripts & delivery serve to illustrate both the good and bad in life, and how State Farm has what you need in both cases. Or as they put it, "State Farm knows that for every one of those moments, there's one of these moments."

This is some seriously brilliant copywriting. As any copywriter knows, the smallest, punchiest lines can be the most difficult to write, and when I watch these ads I often imagine the struggle. I've no idea whether this is remotely accurate, but I picture a round table of writers yanking their hair out as they test lines in various voices until they all start to feel like they're going crazy. These are the kind of lines that I imagine were tested out on family, friends, and around the water cooler. "But if they say it like this does it sound more exasperated?" "Would a thief say this? Is this believable? What if he says it like this?"

I'm curious about the process here. If it were me, I think I'd start by writing the 'good' side of the ad first, then test it out in the 'uh oh' voice. The comedic element might be more natural that way, exactly as it's delivered in the videos. How would you approach it?

Video descriptions on YouTube continue to perfectly capture both the individual videos, and the services offered. 

1) "State Farm is always there, with car insurance, for when things go wrong. But also here with car loans, to help life go right." 

2) "State Farm is always there, with renters insurance, for when things go wrong. But also here, with a rewards credit card, to help life go right."

3) "State Farm is always there, with car insurance, for when things go wrong. But also here with car loans, to help life go right."

Friday Find: Letters of Note

You've likely heard about the recent passing of one of the greats, Mr. Gene Wilder. As happens when a famous person shuffles off this mortal coil, condolences and memories flooded the web. One of them was touching in its own right, but also reminded me of a website I hadn't visited in a while: Letters of Note.

This post features a letter from Wilder to Willy Wonka director Gene Stuart, detailing the way he wanted to portray Wonka in the film. Some of the iconic bits of the role, from his entrance to details of his suit, came from Wilder's own mind. This is some lovely insight into the spirit of a lovely man.

When you've got a few moments, be sure to check out the rest of Letters of Note.

Photo from lettersofnote.com.

Photo from lettersofnote.com.