๐Ÿ’Ž The importance of leaving room for the audience to participate whether it’s a screenplay or an ad (arriving late and leaving early)

Goldman has never written a commercial in his life yet you’ll learn more from his storytelling on how to write for the screen than you will from some advertising expert. And you’ll learn in a memorable and entertaining way – what could be better? There is one piece of advice he offers, in particular, about writing a scene that I love. || It’s a piece of advice that could be well employed by most writers: ‘Come in late, leave early’. || And Goldman’s not talking about the hours you keep. His point is that most writers leave nothing for the audience to do โ€“ the writer over explains. || When you write a scene, and it could be a screenplay or it could be a television commercial, whatever you do, you must leave room for the audience to participate. You have to get them engaged in the process โ€“ that way you’ll get them wanting more. || With screenwriting you move from scene to scene, twisting, turning and surprising, so predictability is the death of a screenplay, as it is for those of us who write television commercials.

If I can work out what’s coming why bother watching? Surprise is a fundamental factor in making something memorable.

Excerpt from:ย Hegarty on Advertising: Turning Intelligence into Magic by John Hegarty

๐Ÿ’Ž Kleiner Perkin’s tactic for avoiding their staff developing entrenched positions in meetings (flip-flop)

Another renowned venture capitalist, Kleiner Perkins’s Randy Komisar takes this idea one step further. He dissuades members of the investment committee from expressing firm opinions by stating right away that they are for or against an investment idea. Instead, Komisar asks participants for a โ€œbalance sheetโ€ of points for and against the investment: โ€œTell me what is good about this opportunity; tell me what is bad about it. Do not tell me your judgment yet. I don’t want to know.โ€ Conventional wisdom dictates that everyone should have an opinion and make it clear. Instead, Komisar asks his colleagues to flip-flop!

Excerpt from: You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!: How Biases Distort Decision-Making and What You Can Do to Fight Them by Olivier Sibony

๐Ÿ’Ž Contingent rewards can reduce intrinsic motivation (we are motivated by uncertainty)

Mark Lepper, David Greene, and Richard Nisbett (1973) conducted research on this question. They divided children into three groups:

  1. Group 1 was the Expected group. The researchers showed the children the Good Drawing Certificate and asked if they wanted to draw in order to get the certificate.
  2. Group 2 was the Unexpected group. The researchers asked the children if they wanted to draw, but didn’t mention anything about a certificate. After the children spent time drawing, they received an unexpected drawing certificate.
  3. Group 3 was the Control group. The researchers asked the children if they wanted to draw, but didn’t mention a certificate and didn’t give them one.

The real part of the experiment came two weeks later. During playtime the drawing tools were put out in the room. The children weren’t asked anything about drawing; the tools were just put in the room and available. So what happened? Children in the Unexpected and Control groups spent the most time drawing. The children in Expected group, the ones to had received an expected reward, spent the least time drawing. Contingent rewards (rewards based on specific behavior that is spelled out ahead of time) resulted in less of the desired behavior if the reward was not repeated. Later the researchers went on to do studies like this, with adults as well as children, and found similar results.

Excerpt from: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)ย by Susan Weinschenk

๐Ÿ’Ž On how making people laugh boosts perceptions of competence and status

In one study, some of our colleagues from the Second city retreatโ€”Brad Bitterly, Maurice Schweitzer, and Alison Wood Brooksโ€”recruited participants to write and present testimonials for Visit Switzerland, a fictional travel company. What the group didnโ€™t know is that the first two โ€œparticipantsโ€ who read their testimonials were research assistants. Half of their prewritten testimonials were serious, the other half were funny (eg., serious testimonial โ€œThe mountains are great for skiing and hiking. Itโ€™s amazing!โ€ vs. humorous testimonial โ€œThe mountains are great for skiing and hiking, and the flag is a big plus!โ€). …*

When participants were asked to rate the presenters on a handful of qualities, those presenting the humorous testimonial were perceived as 5 percent more competent, 11 percent more confident, and 37 percent higher in status.

In other words, a six-word throwaway pun at the end of a testimonial meaningfully swung opinions.

Excerpt from: Humour, Seriously: Why Humour Is A Superpower At Work And In Life by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas

๐Ÿ’Ž If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to do (make it easy)

Tuck your chin into your chest, and then lift your chin upward as far as possible. 6-10 repetitions.

Lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear toward your right shoulder. 6-10 repetitions.

Excerpt from: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)ย by Susan Weinschenk

๐Ÿ’Ž Analysing successful brands can be misleading (survivorship bias)

The models whose success we admire are, by definition, those who have succeeded. But out of all the people who were “crazy enough to think they can change the world,โ€ the vast majority did not manage to do it. For this very reason, we’ve never heard of them. We forget this when we focus only on the winners. We look only at the survivors, not at all those who took the same risks, adopted the same behaviors, and failed. This logical error is survivorship bias. We shouldn’t draw any conclusions from a sample that is composed only of survivors. Yet we do, because they are the only ones we see.

Our quest for models may inspire us, but it can also lead us astray. We would benefit from restraining our aspirations and learning from people who are similar to us, from decision makers whose success is less flashy, instead of a few idols

Excerpt from: You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!: How Biases Distort Decision-Making and What You Can Do to Fight Them by Olivier Sibony

๐Ÿ’Ž On why partial knowledge is often victorious over full knowledge (it conceives things as simpler than they are)

Such misleading stories, however, may still be influential and durable. In Human, All Too Human, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argues that โ€œpartial knowledge is more often victorious than full knowledge: it conceives things as simpler than they are and therefore makes its opinion easier to grasp and more persuasive.”

Excerpt from: The Myth of Experience: Why We Learn the Wrong Lessons, and Ways to Correct Them by Emre Soyer and Robin M Hogarth

๐Ÿ’Ž On flawed marketing language leading to flawed assumptions about how ads work (actively engage)

Finally, there are the words with inbuilt flawed assumptions. Step forward all those plans aiming to encourage ‘active engagement’, make ads more ‘persuasive’, ‘force reappraisal’, ‘strengthen the brand-consumer relationship’, ‘drive brand loyalty’, and so on. These words all sound harmless enough, but the assumptions and principles built into them are flawed. That means they knock marketing effectiveness off course. By and large, people don’t want to ‘actively engage’ or have ‘strong relationships’ with brands, advertising or even ‘consumer generated content’. And they don’t need to for marketing to be successful. Communication can work without ‘persuasion’ or ‘reappraisal. In fact, it needn’t actually ‘communicate’ much at all. And as we’ve said before, brand loyally is loudly an irrelevance.

Excerpt from: How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up by Les Binet and Sarah Carter

๐Ÿ’Ž On the danger of a theory free analysis of mere correlations (winter detector)

The ‘winter detector’ problem is common in big data analysis. A literal example, via computer scientist Sameer Singh, is the pattern-recognising algorithm that was shown many photos of wolves in the wild, and many photos of pet husky dogs. The algorithm seemed to be really good at distinguishing the two rather similar canines; it turned out that it was simply labelling any picture with snow as containing a wolf. An example with more serious implications was described by Janelle Shane in her book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: an algorithm that was shown pictures of healthy skin and of skin cancer. The algorithm figured out the pattern: if there was a ruler in the photograph, it was cancer. If we don’t know why the algorithm is doing what it’s doing, we’re trusting our lives to a ruler detector.

Excerpt from: How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers by Tim Harford

๐Ÿ’Ž On the lack of data proving the effectiveness of ad campaigns (designed to boost loyalty)

The advertising industry – whose only important asset is ideas โ€“ has learned nothing from this. We keep heading in the wrong direction. We keep bulking up everything in our arsenal except our creative resources. Then we take the people who are supposed to be our idea people and give them till 3 o’clock to do a banner.

Sure, we need people who are tech-savvy and analytical. But more than anything, we need some brains-in-a-bottle who have no responsibility other than to sit in a corner and feed us crazy ideas. We keep looking to โ€œtransformโ€ our industry but ignore the one transformation that would kill.

Excerpt from:ย How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up by Les Binet and Sarah Carter

๐Ÿ’Ž Short deadlines can be more effective at encouraging behaviour than long ones (Big Ben Problem)

The Big Ben Problem suggests that introducing a limited time window may encourage people to seize opportunities for treats. Imagine you’ve just gotten a gift certificate for a piece of delicious cake and a beverage at a high-end French pastry shop. Would you rather see the gift certificate stamped with an expiration date two months from today, or just three weeks from now? Faced with this choice, most people were happier with the two-month option, and 68 percent reported that they would use it before this expiration date. But when they received a gift certificate for a tasty pastry at a local shop, only 6 percent of people redeemed it when they were given a two month expiration date, compared to 31 percent of people who were given the shorter three-week window. People given two months to redeem the certificate kept thinking they could do it later, creating another instance of the Big Ben Problem

Except from:ย Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

๐Ÿ’Ž One danger of the increasing move to digital payments is the reduction in the pain of payment (overspending)

This detachment also makes it harder to remember how much we’ve spent. When researchers asked thirty people to estimate their credit card expenses before opening their monthly bill, every single individual underestimated the size of their billโ€”by an average of almost 30 percent.

Except from:ย Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

๐Ÿ’Ž On the power of sparking the audience (curiosity)

I can think of nothing an audience won’t understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested they understand anything in the world.

-ORSON WELLES

Excerpt from: How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers by Tim Harford

๐Ÿ’Ž Five pronged model for encouraging behaviour change (reduce)

REACTANCE

When pushed, people push back. So rather than telling people what to do, or trying to persuade, catalysts allow for agency and encourage people to convince themselves.

ENDOWMENT

People are attached to the status quo. To ease endowment, catalysts surface the costs of inaction and help people realize that doing nothing isn’t as costless as it seems.

DISTANCE
Too far from their backyard, people tend to disregard. Perspectives that are too far away fall in the region of rejection and get discounted, so catalysts shrink distance, asking for less and switching the field.

UNCERTAINTY

Seeds of doubt slow the winds of change. To get people to un-pause, catalysts alleviate uncertainty. Easier to try means more likely to buy.

CORROBORATING EVIDENCE

Some things need more proof. Catalysts find corroborating evidence, using multiple sources to help overcome the translation problem.

Excerpt from: Catalyst by Jonah Berger

๐Ÿ’Ž It’s better to express claims as facts (since facts are more believable than claims)

2. Since facts are more believable than claims, it’s better to express claims as facts.

In advertising, claim is often a euphemism for lie. Many of these euphemised lies are specially constructed to wiggle past lawyers and network censors. You can’t say your peanut butter has more peanuts, not without a notarised peanut count, but you can say someone will be a better mother if she serves it. At your arraignment all you have to do is plead Puffery. All charges are dropped. Puffery forgives everything. To lawyers and censors, it’s okay to lie as long as you lie on a grand enough scale. To everyone else, a lie is still a lie, and it’s almost always transparent. That’s why, instead of just asserting that BMW was a good investment, a BMW ad used the car’s high resale value to prove the point. And it did so, not by comparing the car to other cars but to other investments people in that target audience might make: โ€œLast year a car outperformed 318 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.โ€

Excerpt from: D&Ad Copy Book by D&AD

๐Ÿ’Ž Six psychological biases that help explain why we fail to prepare for disasters

1. Myopia: a tendency to focus on overly short future time horizons when appraising immediate costs and the potential benefits of protective investments;
2. Amnesia: a tendency to forget too quickly the lessons of past disasters;
3. Optimism: a tendency to underestimate the likelihood that losses will occur from future hazards;
4. Inertia: a tendency to maintain the status quo or adopt a default option when there is uncertainty about the potential benefits of investing in alternative protective measures:
5. Simplification: a tendency to selectively attend to on subset of the relevant factors to consider when making choices involving risk; and
6. Herding: a tendency to base choices on the observed actions of others.

Excerpt from: The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther

๐Ÿ’Ž On concise sentences (and “globs of verbal fat”)

Several kinds of verbiage are perennial targets for the delete key. Light verbs such as make, do, have, bring, put, and take often do nothing but create a slot for a zombie noun, as in make an appearance and put on a performance. Why not just use the verb that spawned the zombie in the first place, like appear or perform? A sentence beginning with It is or There is is often a candidate for liposuction: There is competition between groups for resources works just fine as Groups compete for resources. Other globs of verbal fat include the metaconcepts we suctioned out in chapter 2, including matter, view, subject, process, basis, factor, level, and model.

Excerpt from: The Sense of Style: The Thinking Personโ€™s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

๐Ÿ’Ž Write for you (not I)

It helps if your copy has a natural, conversational style. To achieve this, as Jim Durfee has suggested, imagine you’re sitting opposite your prospect and then, in the guise of the brand you’re representing, write as you’d speak.

This means using language they’ll understand instantly. Which words are they? Well, of the 80 most-used words in the English language, 78 have an Anglo-Saxon root. These are the short, simple words we use every day.

There’s one short, simple word you should use a lot. Read your copy and check that โ€œyouโ€ appears three times more than โ€œIโ€ or โ€œweโ€. This helps you write about the subject from the reader’s perspective.

Excerpt from: D&Ad Copy Book by D&AD

๐Ÿ’Ž Our motivation to finish a task grows if we feel we have already made some starting steps (Goal Gradient Effect)

In one study, experimenters distributed coffee reward cards, with 10 stamps earning a free cup of coffee.

Condition 1: a 10-stamp card with no stamps filled.

Condition 2: a 12-stamp card with two stamps already filled in.

Participants in the second condition purchased more coffee and at a higher rate than participants in the first condition. Furthermore, participants accelerated their coffee consumption when they got closer to their prize.

UNSEEN OPPORTUNITY

Ensure the first step of any journey is simple to accomplish and continue to recognise progress along the way. Avoid making people feel they are starting afresh.

Excerpt from: The Unseen Mind by Ogilvy UK