The Monday Morning Memo for May 11, 2015
Say what people expect you to say.
Do what people expect you to do.
They will be bored, I promise you.
Predictability is the essence of cliché.
Surprise is the foundation of delight. Without an element of surprise, there can be no delight.
But irrelevant surprise is randomness, the essence of confusion.
To gain and hold attention, you must do or say something unexpected, but relevant. This is the foundation of every art.
When the surprising element – the thing that doesn’t belong – unexpectedly and miraculously and perfectly fits, surprise resolves into understanding. Delight will leap from the eyes. You’ll see it dancing at the corners of the mouth.
Don’t be tedious. Be delightful.
Before you read any further, I’d like you to go back to the beginning and read down to here again. When you’ve read these eight opening paragraphs three consecutive times, you’ll be ready to continue reading further.
You thought you could just keep reading and not get caught? Go back and do what I told you.
Magicians call it misdirection – sleight of hand – but what they’re really doing is surprising you again and again and each time they do, it’s delightful.
The magician that bores you is the one whose trick is predictable.
A comedian is no different, really. The punch line you don’t see coming – but that fits perfectly when delivered – makes you gasp for breath laughing and feel the lightheaded joy of youth.
When the punch line is predictable, we moan.
I learned all this from Robert Frost.
We never met.
He died when I was 5 years old, but Robert left me a lot of poems to read and in each one he took me to a place I didn’t see coming. When Paul Harvey told me the rest of the story it deepened my skill to a more frightening level.
Robert and Paul taught me how to move from surprise to understanding to delight.
Surprise that resolves into understanding always looks like magic.
If you can insert surprise and delight into a message for a business, you are a Wizard of Ads.
Excellent. Now all you need to do is practice each day and build a reputation and soon you’ll be earning more than a million dollars a year.
I’m not exaggerating or trying to be colorful. Later this morning – at 11AM Central Time to be exact – I’m going to explain How to Make a Ton of Money in Advertising in 10 Not-Easy Steps during the opening few minutes of my monthly webcast. (Monday, May 11, 2015)
You trust me to help you each week without trying to get in your pocket. That’s why you give me these few minutes. So I’m going to ask Sean Taylor to video the opening section of today’s webcast and post it online for you so that you can view it for free. If you’d like to see me explain those 10 Not-Easy Steps, just send your email address to my Wizard of Ads partner Andrew@WizardOfAds.com and he’ll send you a link to the video as soon as we have it posted.
If – after you watch the video – you think you might have what it takes to become a Wizard of Ads partner, just let Andrew know and we’ll set aside a day to talk with you about it in Austin.
I don’t care that you didn’t study advertising in college. I didn’t either. In fact, I didn’t even go.
But people don’t seem to care about that when you’re helping them make a lot of money.
Let’s start this thing up.
Roy H. Williams