What do the highest grossing movies in the world have in common?

They all have an above average degree of the unexpected. They keep you on your toes. They keep you wondering what’s coming next. They “change gears” dramatically and often.

And that’s what the best advertisements also have in common. When your ads are predictable, your prospects’ brains tune out and do something else. The headline of your ad should get you to listen to or read the next line. That line should get you to listen to or read the line after that…and so on. As soon as one of the lines in your ad is filled with word after word of predictability, your prospect will zone out and focus their attention on something more important.

If a husband buys his wife flowers every Valentine’s Day, his wife thinks it’s sweet, but it doesn’t “move” her like he’s hoping. But when he surprises her with flowers on a completely unexpected day, along with a hand-written note, her heart will flutter – mostly because it was unexpected. And what if he took it an extra step? What if he picked her up after work and they headed off to a stress-free mini-vacation for the weekend without the kids? Now, that’s a nominee for husband of the year. Which reminds me…I should practice what I preach!

We’re getting slammed with advertisements and special offers every minute of the day. So, keep people on their toes with words and advertising messages that surprise and give people a warm feeling. Something that makes them start wondering why they’re not doing business with you. Make someone feel good about your company. You’ll get a heck of a lot better return on investment just by making people feel good about your company, versus pushing another annoying and typical ad on them!

The great authors of fiction peel us away from reality and throw us into new worlds with ease – and we don’t want to ever put the book down. There are movie makers that cause people to go see their films without even caring too much what the movie is about. We just know it will be good. They do it with unpredictability. Twists, turns, drama, conflict, and surprise – they’re not just for great books and movies, but your advertisements also.

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I’m a radio marketing guy in Sioux Falls who loves helping local businesses improve their marketing message. The difference between good advertising and bad is usually all about the MESSAGE. Improve your ad message, and you’ll improve your advertising results.