Science of Copywriting Weekly Newsletter Issue 16

This is the final issue for 2019. Next time you hear from me it will be 2020. Speaking of which, let’s rip apart the 20/20 Vision myth.

Although it’s just a scientific measurement for clarity, the strong association with marketing makes it an obvious metaphor (just like Blue Ocean Thinking).

Anyone can create these, and when they work, they work REALLY well. Best selling books have used them: from Purple Cow (how to stand out in a field of humans), to Contagious (how to inject virality into a field of humans), to Crushing It! (how to squash the entire field into a pulp).

20/20 Vision is about two things: focus and interpretation. It’s all very well focusing on one thing (which is something you have to do if you want to succeed with any degree of certainty), it’s quite another to interpret what you see. That’s down to your experience of life and your previous interpretations of it, meaning the neural connections your brain makes from your sensual data (it’s not ‘you’ making them either, which I’ve always found rather hard to comprehend).

Everything you ever experienced is stored for possible future use, and if not used, slowly recedes – that doesn’t mean it won’t come back, amazing things DO come back if the conditions are right.

This is how desire can be created from seemingly thin air (a metaphor for the dark recesses of the mind). If you know someone’s background intimately enough, you can use words to evoke ancient memories. You can bring back the past and jolt them into taking action. And it all happens subconsciously.

There’s a great phrase from The Book of EST. It goes like this: “The mind is a linear arrangement of multisensory total records of successive moments of now”. It’s those moments that great copy brings back to life.

So next time your copy fails to convert, you’ll know why – there’s no connection with its audience, which means either a) it’s the wrong audience, or b) the memories you’re trying to evoke don’t exist in the audience you’re trying to influence.

Get the two of them right though, and you have 20/20 Copy (focus and interpretation). Nothing beats that.

Last Week

There was a good mixture of stuff last week, but my favourite is The One. If you’ve been struggling with self-doubt (or any other debilitating mind condition) read it and get your mojo back.

Tricks created an open loop (concluded on Monday) and Porcupines shows you how to create new ideas from nothing. And don’t forget Villains – the right way to do follow up emails (don’t be a villain).





The One:


With my love,
Quentin Pain
Science of Copywriting

PS. See you in 2020. If you want to view previous newsletters, you can find them here:



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