05. 20. 2019 Blog

Crime Scene: Copywriting. Knock ‘Em Dead With Storytelling!

A harmless attraction in a supermarket leads to a ghastly knife scene the morning after. The fatal scene transpires on a kitchen countertop. Our protagonist craves for more. Will he get caught?

It was love at first sight in a supermarket. The perfectly rounded curves and sun-kissed tan immediately caught his eyes and that scent – it was like a whiff of a tropical vacation. He could just taste it – so sweet. Incredibly sexy! The blond at the cash register smiled willingly as she looked into his smouldering, bedroom eyes. The attraction was mutual. She knew what he wanted.

The next morning a murderous thirst overcame him. He grabbed a sharp skinning knife and went after his prey. The sharp blade cut smoothly through the firm shinning skin. He proceeded to savagely choke and twist his newfound victim in every direction. Pieces of ruptured juice sacs splattered all over. His gratification was only temporary. He’d dispose of the remains later. The unruly wicked desires within him revived quickly, clamoring for satisfaction. He wanted more…


Want to know how the story unfolds? Just continue reading: We’ll reveal what happens at the end.


Did the opening arouse your curiosity? That would be more than most copywriting achieves. Many texts are hard to digest, just like a wrong dose of medicine. They read like a patient instruction leaflet – and have terrifying side effects: From boredom to resignation and disinterest to annoyance at the wasted time reading them.


Don’t enumerate – narrate!
It doesn’t have to be that way: Copywriters who use storytelling skills can captivate and inspire their readers – in the same way a good thriller author intrigues his followers. In fact, popular fiction can serve as a blueprint. Attention, interest, desire and action: Copywriters working in advertising cannot ignore the AIDA principle. And anyone familiar with these key stages in the advertising process knows that it has certain analogies to the three-act structure of a novel.


It all starts with a big bang
Act 1 (Attention): Enthralling novels usually start off with a major happening, the murder. They immediately create an atmosphere of suspense and curiosity, thereby drawing the reader into the story. A dazzling introduction is even more important in advertising than in literature. Novels are read out of one’s own free will and with great enthusiasm – it’s relaxing and a fun pastime. When it comes to ad copy, on the other hand, one is instinctively skeptical: The ad has to prove that it is even worth reading. It’s therefore important, even crucial, that the headline and opening immediately draw the reader’s attention.


Problems, problems, problems
Act 2 (Interest + Desire): In order to build up tension in a thriller, hurdles and obstacles arise. The story becomes increasingly complicated, the plot comes to a head, and curiosity reaches an unbearable level. How will it end? Will the killer be caught before he strikes again?


This is particularly important in advertising. The copywriter must bring up problems that emotionally touch the reader and are relevant to his own inner conflicts. The aim is to awaken target group-specific desires. Example: Tooth whitening gel: Susie is a young, attractive model, but her stained yellow teeth are a serious career obstacle.


The miraculous solution: Your product!
Act3 (Action): Most crime thrillers have a happy ending! The danger is averted and the devastating problems are solved. That is also the case with good copy. The product at the center of the ad becomes the hero who saves the day.


A good story can raise our heart rate, take our breath away, trigger bliss and cause grief. A sharp copywriter pulls the strings from behind the curtain – his story steers our emotions. Copywriters have been doing this for years: It’s due to numerous storytelling-based marketing campaigns that the car has long been associated with freedom and cigarettes with cowboys.


For storytelling to be captivating and emotionally touching, it must of course not only be convincing in terms of content and structure, but also in regard to linguistic craftsmanship. This is something we’ll get into at another time. That much, however, can be revealed: Surprising twists always keep readers entertained!


…And speaking of twists: Let’s get back to our murderous villain and see what he’s up to?


He still felt an insatiable, murderous thirst! He wanted more… What did he do next: A grocery bag lay crumpled on the kitchen counter, it was empty. He’d devoured the last of his sweet tasty citrus fruit. There was only one thing to do: He drove back to the supermarket, smiled at the blond at the cash register and bought a fresh supply of oranges!