“The longer it takes to explain an idea, the smaller it seems” — Lee Clow

Great ads can deliver an idea like “Winning the Battle of the Short List” in less than 30 seconds.  Or in the example below, in 9 short lines and less than 64 words. Better yet, great ads make you feel the truth of the idea in your gut.

How do they do that?

Usually with drama. Take this magazine ad I ran into over at the Sell! Sell! Blog:


Totally different experience than reading my blog post on the same subject, right?

And they created that experience through short-form drama. They sucked you into a story — smack in the middle of a mini drama — before you even realized it.  And while you were mentally playing out that drama, they sucker punched you with the emotional truth of the idea. Here’s how:

1) The image of the ad has a high degree of story appeal. The guy is looking at you and he doesn’t look happy.  So what’s that all about, right? Apparently there’s trouble in River City, and where there’s trouble, there’s a story.  So curiosity obliges you to read the copy to figure it out and get the scoop.

2) The copy speaks directly to you, the reader. You are indeed being addressed by this man, and — boom! — at that instant you’re now inside the drama.

3) The copy makes it immediately and painfully obvious that you’re walking into a tough sell. A very tough sell that get’s tougher with each line of copy from the prospects mouth.

So once you finish reading and finally pop out of the mini-drama, the emotional truth of the message hits home. There’s just no denying the truth of that final “Moral.”

The Beauty of Short-Form Drama

So what’s the moral of THIS story?

Moral: Great ad writers do use short form storytelling and short form drama to cause people to realize the truth of your message on an emotional, gut-feel level. Most advertising fails because most ads aren’t written by ad writers capable of persuading through short-form drama.

What kind of  persuasion is your ad writer baking into your ads?


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