Lessons Mr. Trump is Teaching Advertisers
Observations from an Ad Shrink
by Greg Cynaumon, Ph.D.
For the record, this is about psychology and advertising – not politics. This is about America becoming the world leader in Attention Deficit Disorder and the lessons those of us who create ad copy and manage
campaigns should be paying attention to.
Just The Facts:
So what’s ADD have to do with politics? Whether by accident or because he’s a master puppeteer, Mr. Trump solved the Rubik’s Cube of communication. He defined the 4 LAWS of communicating to consumers and voters.
Keep it Brief: I studied it. Mr. Trump’s most salient (and I use that term loosely) points are made in sound bites of :30 seconds or less – often far less. Given this lesson, you must infer that people's attention spans are diminishing. When I write radio or TV copy, I recognize I have :05-:07 seconds to command the attention of my consumer. If I miss that window -- adios! So, if you're writing :60 second ad copy, give serious thought saying it in :30, :15 or even :10.
Dumb it down: For an intelligent and well-educated man, Mr. Trump uses a purposely, non-polysyllabic, pedestrian vocabulary (sweet alliteration, right?). Brilliant and not by accident! No disrespect… but he identified that his target audience (e.g., voters of both parties) comprehend at around a 5th grade level. If you write ad copy, don’t fall in love with your vocabulary and stop trying to win a prize for your writing. Keep it simple and don't try to say everything you know about your product in one commercial. Ad creative is a linear, ongoing story. Try to cover it all in :60 seconds and you'll FAIL MISERABLY.
Repeat it three times: Here’s an absolute from my chosen field of psychology that applies to writing ad copy: if you want your patient to understand a crucial point: a) say it once b) say it again, and c) say it a third time in a slightly different way. (BTW: I’ve been using this with my kids and in copy writing for a decade and yeah, it works -- in copy writing. The kids? Not so much :)
Hyperbolize: Admittedly, this one makes me a little nuts (but completely manageable with meds). Mr. Trump applies hyperbole to his major points like I apply sprinkles to ice cream… in jaw-dropping, diabetes-inducing excess. Count the number of times he uses phrases like: disgusting, disaster, tremendous, and ridiculous and you’ll see the method he's using. Advertising has long used puffery to describe and influence sales because it works. Sadly, what works better is believability -- delivered by a credible person. (Again, not making a political statement here. Just wishing his advisors - advised a bit better)
SUMMARY: And there you have it… the four lessons Mr. Trump is teaching advertisers and agency folks alike. And on one final note - lest you think I'm implying that consumers are lacking in neurons, I'm not. I'm simply stating most consumers (especially among the prized millennial demo and younger) have attuned their attention to shorter, more interesting messaging (see disruption) while avoiding longer, more thought-challenging messaging and it would serve all of us well to understand it.
Creative Hack - Writing Great Ad Copy
Interview with Greg Cynaumon, Ph.D.
Recently, a marketing publication asked me for my #1 TIP to help online and offline writers create GREAT AD COPY! Thought I'd share an excerpt below. Hope it helps and inspires. Our first stop was with the Doc of Ads (AKA: Greg Cynaumon, Ph.D. from ADcology.com. Dr. Greg is a creative architect behind notables ranging from LifeLock to LegalZoom to Hooked on Phonics. As a doctor of psychology and former radio show host, he brings a behavioral science slant to writing ad copy. Here's Dr. Greg's Ad Hack for writing great creative.
TIP: Start at the end and work back. Translation: Most copywriters start at the beginning of the copy searching for the perfect opening hook. HUGE mistake! The hook should never drive the copy. Wrap your brain around the psychology of the copy and let that drive your hook.
STARTING POINT: envision the successful conclusion of the sales funnel before you write a single word. That's pretty much the consumer's decision to buy! "Basically, you have to envision the prototypical customer buying the product/service. You have to become the customer, analyze what they heard and saw that prompted them to buy and work backward. This template might help: Step 1. Describe the last thing people must hear and think about your product/service that will compel them to take immediate action. Step 2. Describe the product/service in ways that cause people to instantly identify with it. They MUST project (envision) themselves using the product and easily understand how it makes them better, smarter, happier or more admired... or see how it improves their life. Step 3. Envision having coffee with friends (who match the product demo). Everyone is distracted and chatting amongst themselves when you decide you can't wait any longer to share your excitement about a product that you're sure they'll love too. Whatever you say has to instantly cause them to stop talking, turn toward you and lean in to hear what you have to say. That's your hook and you have 7-10 seconds at the start of your copy to say it. I guarantee if you'd written the hook before Steps 1 and 2, it would be very different and less impactful.
My fellow right-brain creative types... hope this helps.
SALES... The Psychology of Resistance
Observations from an Ad Shrink
by Greg Cynaumon, Ph.D.
I made a huge mistake in my past life as an author of psychology and self-help books and I apologize for the longer than necessary books. The answer is NOT to unbundle mind-numbing pages of content. The answer is to distill
JUST the most important things into easy-to-use bites. So with that in mind... in a nutshell (okay, not a term shrinks should employ) if you want to sell more of whatever it is you're selling... stop selling benefits and features and get very familiar with just two words: RESISTANCE and CHANGE
Let me introduce you to the scariest word in the English language: CHANGE. This single word evokes some of the most powerful subconscious emotions you and I will encounter. Change represents an uncomfortable departure from our status-quo... something the human condition works very hard to maintain literally from the womb. Our mind perceives change as risk behavior. Change equates to more work, more stress, criticism, risk of failure, discomfort and loss! I can't state this more emphatically, whether you're helping patients to change deep-rooted behaviors, creating ad copy, or suggesting consumers change from one product to yours -- IDENTIFYING RESISTANCE AND CREATING A COMFORTABLE PATH TO CHANGE IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
2 Simple Rules to Neutralizing Resistance to Change
1. Identify the Resistance
Start with, what it is you are asking someone to do? Whatever you're selling - you need to identify subconscious (and conscious) resistance to change. When you call on a new client and ask them to buy what you're selling - understand that their most basic, primal instinct is to say NO because the mind processes change as painful and difficult. Change = discomfort and leaving the status-quo. Again, pain represents more work, risk, potential criticism and failure. Change is pain knocking at the door and if you don't neutralize perceived pain -- you'll fail 9 out of 10 times.
The easiest path to helping the mind overcome subconscious resistance to change is to neutralize it through shared experiences! Storytelling. Storytelling is powerful because we're conditioned to engage emotionally in stories from childhood. Storytelling organically lowers resistance because it introduces us to relatable characters. Whether we're writing ad copy or making a sales call, taking the person on a brief journey with a relatable character validates their feelings and demonstrates how you (or your product) made their life better. Bottom line... they must relate and insert themselves in the story and project the successful outcome.
2. Sell Change... Not Benefits and Features
We fall in love with selling benefits and features. Run faster, jump higher, get whiter teeth and better smelling laundry. No question benefits and features are important, but the mind will deflect benefits and features unless you have overcome the primal resistance to change.
Quick example. I just saw one of the best commercials ever (wished I'd written it). The product was for migraine relief and it featured how the company was able to simulate what migraines felt like to those who don't suffer from them. The ad featured the mom of a migraine sufferer empathizing (crying) with her daughter and apologizing that, until now, she never understood what her daughter was enduring. Genius! The maker wasn't selling a faster, better migraine relief. They were selling validation. The company could have sold faster relief or longer lasting relief all day. The genius of this ad was that they sold validation of what migraine sufferers go through and empathy from those they wish knew about it. Emotions will overcome resistance to change and outsell product benefits 1000 to 1.
Stop Paying Your Agency for Failed Media
The days of ad agencies receiving fees and commissions for failed media test campaigns are gone.
by Greg Cynaumon, Ph.D. - CEO ADcology.com
During a recent gathering of radio broadcasters, podcasters and YouTube influencers in Orange County, California,
Greg Cynuamon, Ph.D. founder of ADcology, announced a groundbreaking new commission-reducing/eliminating
policy for all test campaigns starting December 1, 2017.
“Historically, the agency world charges fees and commissions for a clients’ test campaign. And if it fails… the agency takes it’s fees and commissions and moves forward, but what about the company? A failed media test can be devastating to future investment, company morale and business strategy. Bottom line, we think its absurd to expect fees and commissions for test campaigns that underperform to the client’s goals,” said Cynaumon, who’s creative and media strategies have touched brands ranging from Dollar Shave Club to LifeLock, Casper Mattress and many others. “We’re starting a new era of agency accountability to our clients goals including providing free services and reducing or eliminating commissions during defined media test periods.”
Dr. Greg estimates nearly half of the products and services that enter media tests fail to advance to rollout due mainly to three totally solvable problems:
• The agency failed to do its homework before spending a dime of the advertisers money.
• Agency fees and commissions strangled the company’s ROI
• Poorly negotiated media rates (or didn’t utilize media partners who would also reduce costs to reach ROI goals)
Dr. Greg believes that ADcology has gained popularity in the radio, YouTube and podcast agency industry due to its multiple free services. “And now we’ve taken that philosophy one step further by eliminating fees and reducing commissions (or waiving them altogether) for campaigns that fail to meet a client’s agreed upon ROI for success,” he said. “We’ve always believed in doing whatever it takes to create massively successful and scalable test campaigns for our clients, so providing free services, including waiving or lowering our commissions, is the next step in accountability.”
Following is a list of the free services currently being offered by ADcology: