One Big Assumption

Posted by on August 21, 2013

A Monday Morning Memo from The Wizard of Ads

Advertisers assume that people comprehend their ads. Most often, they do not. The volume of advertising which gushes toward the customer’s mind is like a fire hose aimed at a teacup. There is simply too much rushing in to contain. Most advertising in America is deflected, spilled and lost. At the end of the day, precious little information is retained.

Will your advertising be part of that precious little, or is it being deflected, spilled and lost?

The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience is read by doctors and medical students who desire to understand how human beings recognize and identify objects, use visual mental images, read, produce and comprehend language, move and store new information in memory, etc. (I think it makes sense for ad writers to understand these things, too.)

Stephen Kosslyn, an editor for the journal and a professor of psychology at Harvard, tells us how auditory pattern activation is an essential element in language skills. Kosslyn says, “A word is like a key. When a word unlocks the correct stored memories, it is meaningful.”

I believe the carefully guided recall of a sequence of these stored memories is the magic behind every powerful ad writer. Do the words of your ads unlock stored memories in the mind of the listener? The memories can be real or imagined. The important thing is that they be recalled from the mind in such a manner as to actively engage the imagination. To put it plainly, you must cause the listener to see himself taking precisely the action you so artfully describe. When the listener does not mentally participate, the advertising is deflected, spilled and lost.

“Engage the imagination and take it where you will. Where the mind has journeyed repeatedly, the body will surely follow. People go only to places they have already been in their minds.”

Law #7 of The Seven Laws of the Advertising Universe

Roy H. Williams

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