Wednesday, June 17, 2020

CItizen Kane and the WaterPik.

Every day, I get six notes or four from people I hardly even know. We might be connected on Linked In (I seem to be connected to nearly everyone) or maybe I worked three desks over from them. 

My wife will hear me sigh. "Who's that note from," she'll ask.

"Someone named Jill."

"Who's she?"

"I dunno. I couldn't pick her out of a lineup."

Nevertheless, these people will ask me to give them an opinion of something they produced or something they've written. They'll ask me to "like" a post or a photograph. I guess when you're internet-famous like I am--on five or six continents and among millions of incontinents--it comes with the territory.

Like most people, I'm very pressed for time. But I usually try to be as gracious as I can be. That too, comes with the territory.

More often than not, I'll click on a video, and nothing happens. I don't mean the video doesn't play or advance, I mean nothing happens. 

Nothing is happening that intrigues me, that gets my attention, that provokes me to the point where my curiosity tells me to listen up. 

In other words, I'm bored within about five seconds. 

But because I'm trying desperately to be nice, I give it twenty seconds more. Still nothing. Then I scrub ahead twenty seconds. 

Nothing has happened.

So not only did the piece not grab my attention, it didn't go anywhere. 

More and more communications seem to fail on these fronts. You, the creator or you, the client, expect people to watch what you've made or written because it's important to you and interesting to you.

Have you thought about your viewer?

What's in it for me?

Are you being respectful of their time? (they didn't turn on the TV to watch raindrops trickle down a windshield.) Give them a reason to watch. Something they haven't seen before. Tell them something new that teaches them something valuable. Tell them a joke. Or help them get through a rough day.

Here's a commercial that to me summarizes just about everything bad about most communications. Brands and agencies presume because something is important to them, it's important to you.

Making that assumption is insulting. It's the marketing equivalent of talking someone's ear off on an airplane. You have to give me a reason to listen to you.

You'd think this was all painfully obvious, but it's painfully clear that advertisers and their agencies do believe today that they can bore people into buying their products.

Now spend three minutes with the film above. Prohibition (no trespassing signs make people want to break in, as does locked fence after locked fence after locked fence. As do the creepy zoo animals, the abandoned gondolas, the giant castle with just one room lit. 

Guys, I know we're not making Citizen Kane. But job one, whether you're hailing a cab or making a spot or writing a deck, is to get attention.

It's frustrating that this most essential bits of common sense seems ignored in about 99.9% of what I see.

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