There was a buzzing in the room.
The kind that comes from many voices whispering excitedly. Anyone walking by would have thought there was some type of covert operation being planned.
Heads bent, brows furrowed and pencils flew across paper, scratching furiously. Ads were being rewritten.
It’s funny how one small noise can freeze a room.
All heads lifted in synch, eyes turned to the front of the room at the sound of Groucho turning the paper on the flipchart.
He uncapped his felt marker with a flourish and wrote boldly on the flipchart;
“Advertising is all about Unleashing Desire!”
He pointed his marker at a slouching Elvis type in the second row.
Wagging his eyebrows and rolling his eyes in true Groucho fashion, he drawled “What do YOU desire?” .
Bowing in response to the laughter, the instructor surveyed the room, arms crossed on his chest. “Seriously. What do you think are the two things that people desire most?” he asked.
A tentative voice from the back of the room suggested, “Money?”
Groucho paced the room thoughtfully. “Anyone agree?” he asked.
A few voices mumbled in agreement.
“What’s the first thing you’d do if you won a million dollars? he asked. He pointed at students at random.
“Pay off bills,”
“Quit my job,”
“Go on vacation,”
“A new car.”
“Do you suppose,” he asked “that people don’t really want money itself? That maybe they really want what money represents to them?”
The instructor paced the room silently for a moment. He looked out the window and combed a hand through his hair.
Turning, brows furrowed, and asked; “Did you know that all your wants and all your needs stem from two primal desires? Gut level, deeply instinctive primal desires.”
You could have heard a pin drop.
Elvis was actually looking curious.
Striding to the front of the room, he underlined the words on the flipchart.
“Advertising is all about Unleashing Desire”.
Carefully, he printed underneath it;
“Our primal desires are:
1) to experience pleasure
2) to avoid pain.”
Tapping the marker on the flipchart for emphasis he stated clearly; “Every. Single. Thing. Humans. Do – stems from one of these two primal desires.”
He went on to explain that if an ad focuses on primal desires, it is more successful than if it just talks about product features. And, an ad that elicits emotion based on a primal desire is one powerhouse of an ad!
He explained that “You can afford the house of your dreams” is better than “Affordable mortgages”.
That “Stop the pain, Guaranteed!” sells better than than “The best headache remedy”.
He asked us to open the newspaper and find six ads that did not address a primal need. And rewrite them so they do.
Do you want to write copy, sales pages and ads that sell? Really sell? Look for ads that don’t address a primal desire. Attach each ad to a piece of paper. Underneath the ad, rewrite it so it addresses a primal desire.
When you’ve done a few dozen, you’ll start to see a difference in the oddest place.
See, if your ads don’t cut it, people assume your product doesn’t either. But wait… that’s a subconscious parallel assumption, and that’s the topic of part 3…