You choose a frame every time you look through the lens of a camera, sketch an image with a pencil, or write words with a pen. But today you’re going to start choosing your frames consciously, rather than unconsciously.
The job of the ad writer is to introduce a new perspective and trigger a new belief. The best ads make people think and feel differently.
When you look through the lens of a camera, you notice that as you move closer you see more detail, but less context. This ratio of detail-to-context is determined by your proximity. And as you circle an object, its profile and its background change with every step you take. Your angle of view determines your perspective.
1. Proximity: The details you share reveal how close you are to the subject.
2. Perspective: What is your angle of view? Are you a first-timer or an expert? Are you the manufacturer, the customer, or just a reporter with an opinion? Or are you the product itself?
Proximity and Perspective:
“I was sticky-smelly-suffocating, enveloped in nasty residue from places unspeakable when magical soap and steamy-soft hot water gushed from heaven above and the stickiness and smell of a lifetime of abuse melted off me like tears in the rain. I was stripped naked, but alive again, looking at my true color, when a rush of air lifted me off my feet a little and held me in its warm embrace until I was radiant and dry. This is the new me: happy and fluffy, beaming and bouncy, smiling and smelling brand-new. I am your carpet. Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling Roy’s Carpet Cleaning.”
That ad began in first person, past tense perspective (I was…) and ended in first person, present tense (This is the new me… I am…)
Your choice of person (first, second, or third) and your choice of tense (past, present, or future) are just two of the many choices you make every time you write. Choose them consciously rather than unconsciously and your writing will leap to a higher level.
Ad writers seek to reframe our perspectives, redirect our thoughts, and renew our minds.
Sales trainers and motivational speakers do the same.
Beryl Markham was a female aviator who could have been an amazing ad writer. She published a 1942 memoir about her experiences growing up in British East Africa in the early 1900s. In 2004, National Geographic ranked her book, West With the Night, as number 8 on its list of the 100 best adventure books.
Beryl Markham understood proximity and perspective:
“The hills, the forests, the rocks, and the plains are one with the darkness, and the darkness is infinite. The earth is no more your planet than is a distant star – if a star is shining; the plane is your planet and you are its sole inhabitant.”
– Beryl Markham, West With the Night
Ernest Hemingway said,
“She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers … it really is a bloody wonderful book.”
I have a friend who helps inventors get funding from investors. He says the most important part of his job is the construction of “the dinner party story.” He says, “People like to invest in things that are fun to talk about. Give them a good story to tell and they are likely to invest their money in it.”
The world around you is teeming with people willing to give you their money in exchange for elevating their happiness.
You just need to start telling the right story.
Roy H. Williams
For the past 20 years, Mark Nation has been inspiring people and organizations to work with more vision, purpose, and passion in everything they do. Mark inspires executives in companies large and small how to unleash their full potential. Listen and learn as Mark tells roving reporter Rotbart how each of us has a voice — an internal song — that we need to sing to the world. Come and sing with Mark and Dean at MondayMorningRadio.com!