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With stunningly few very rare exceptions, the greatest songs in rock history use colorful, interesting, and unique words and phrases.
Those colorful words and phrases engage our brains and paint vivid images in our minds. We can’t forget them.
Let’s look at this section of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”:
You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.
Frowning jugglers and clowns doing tricks? A chrome horse and a diplomat carrying a Siamese cat on his shoulder?
Yes, those are the somewhat confusing words to the song that Rolling Stone magazine listed as #1 on their Top 500 Songs Of All Time. Those are words and phrases that capture your subconscious and demand that it pay attention.
Great advertising does the same thing!
For example, let’s compare those cryptic Dylan lyrics to the script to what many consider the best advertisement of the past decade, the famous Old Spice “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad:
Hello, ladies. Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Now back to me.
Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me.
Look down. Back up. Where are you? You’re on a boat with the man your man could smell like.
What’s in your hand? Back at me. I have it, it’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again. The tickets are now diamonds.
Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I’m on a horse.
Starting now, make a vow. Rid your advertising of the words that your competitors are using. Eliminate as many of the usual “advertising” words as you can. Throw away every single cliche you can find.
Instead seek out colorful and dynamic words that shatter your prospect’s mental filter and dive deep into their memory, so that when they need whatever it is you sell… they think of you first. And nobody else matters.
When you are creating advertising – whether it is radio, print, TV, outdoor, or interactive – you are writing songs. Just like Bob Dylan.
How does it feel?
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