Emotions In Copywriting

“There is a creature alive today, who has survived millions of years of evolution, without change, without passion, and without logic. It lives to kill. A mindless eating machine. It will attack and devour anything. It is as if God created the devil and gave him jaws.”

That’s the opening advertising copy to the original trailer of Jaws, the world’s highest grossing film at the time.

When you start with a good story, you pull people in. There’s no pushing involved (pushing is inefficient, there’s always resistance).

But what constitutes a good story? Familiarity. Our stories need to connect with our audience.

Obvious right? Not really. If we understood connection, we’d be doing it all the time and life would be rosy.

Most business owners don’t take stories seriously. To them, a word is a word “and as far as we’re concerned, there’s far too many of them.”.

Spielberg cut out most of the subplots in Peter Benchley’s novel and focused on the metaphor of the shark as a measurement of everything that’s wrong with us. In the end we overcome it, and our heroes win.

That’s what makes this film so much more than a monster story.

But the advertisers knew that pushing the metaphor wouldn’t work (too boring or deep or both), they had to focus on a primary emotion (and there’s none better than fear).

What emotion are you going for when you write copy? The fun of copywriting is we get to choose.

[Copywriting Notes] I rewrote this twice before this final (shorter) piece. Each version started with a different big idea, but after completing them, they just weren’t big enough. Sometimes it works that way. We don’t care though because we know there’s always a bigger idea just around the corner.



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