Are You Selling With Clichés?
by Tamara R.
Do you have any commentary habits while watching TV, or a movie? You know, like pointing out who’s going to die first in a zombie movie? Or maybe you try to predict the ending within the first five minutes? Or perhaps try to figure out the love interests? One of my fiancé’s favorite things to do while watching TV or a movie is point out all of the clichés in the script and plot lines. And it always amazes me how many he will pick out. Relationships and villain lines are some of the worst, too.
But advertisements also have some bad clichés, and poorly executed marketing campaigns will have such obvious layouts of script that it’s easy to know what the writers were thinking. It’s ridiculous, and maybe it’s supposed to be effective, but I have to agree with my fiancé – they are funny. I guess what I’m trying to say is…
Is That A Cliché In Your Hand? Drop It Now.
You don’t want to make the lines and the plot in a script so predictable that the viewer knows what they’re going to be told before it comes. And that includes any marketing efforts as well. The marketing campaigns a company uses should be as subtle in the implementation as possible so that the viewer will absorb it as their own thoughts and view. It’s the same concept as in a novel – you don’t tell the reader, “Here is the protagonist, the hero. You should like him/her.” Or, if you do, you have to give more. You show the reader through example, through this character’s actions and words and thoughts, that they are the one we are cheering for in the story.
Think about how often you hear a particular phrase to the point that it has no effect on you. Or, how about when you are watching TV and the speaker starts to say a sentence, and you’re able to finish it without having ever seen this ad or show or movie? Saying that your product, your service, your company is “the best” doesn’t really mean it is, nor will you get noticed for saying so. Doesn’t everyone say that? And while your ultimate goal in your marketing campaign may be to “sell more,” it shouldn’t be so blatant that the viewer (or reader) can see it coming while it’s still in transient to their minds.
So, next time you see a zombie movie and you’re predicting who dies next, pay attention to the clichés used. And that includes the commercials in-between zombie-time. Be different. It’s much more interesting, unpredictable, and lively. As my fiancé would say: “Braaaaaains! Use your braaaaains!”