Advertising writing and “The force”

My inner geek resurfaced after watching Star Wars, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

The original came out in 1977 before the days of VCRs and small recording devices. (By the way, the title was Episode IV – A New Hope my children inform me. NO Star Wars as I foolishly thought.) When I was a teenager, I paid to sit 15 times. My cousin and I even sneaked into a cassette player and recorded the entire movie on two 60-minute cassettes, memorizing each line. I told you I was a geek!

Watching the final installment of the series come full circle last week, I realized that there are similarities between the good and evil in the world and the good and evil of creating an out-of-this-world copy.

1) Like “The Force”, the copy is EVERYWHERE. It is in all your promotional and marketing materials. Whether it’s emails, websites, brochures, product back cover copy, ezines, blogs, brochures, even business cards … they all rely on copy to get their message across. Obi Wan Kenobi was right when he said: “It surrounds us. It penetrates us. It unites the galaxy.” He just didn’t realize he was talking about copy too!

2) Persuasion techniques are as prevalent in copying as they are in the old Jedi mind trick. Copying is salesmanship in print, so naturally you must overcome objections, put yourself in the shoes of your target market, and lead the potential customer toward the sale. Make them think like you. If they believe it was HIS idea instead of yours, so much the better!

3) Copied and cut branches can always be repaired. The Jedi and Sith Lords have a habit of removing each other’s limbs with lightsabers. But never fear. They can be replaced by stronger mechanical versions. Same with the copy. Don’t be afraid to cut and edit your words. In the end, your message can be more powerful.

4) A good copy and the Death Star attract the prospect like a tractor beam. Whether the potential customer consents or not, when the copy is on target and compelling, it should absorb the reader as if it has a gravitational pull. If your copy is doing the job, there is nothing the prospect would rather do than read it RIGHT NOW. As Earthling Gary Halbert said, “The copy can never be too long. Just too boring.”

5) Just as Anakin Skywalker had a reason for turning to the Dark Side, you should have a reason “why” you are giving so much. (By the way, how hot is Hayden Christensen playing young Darth? Sizzling I mean!) Darth Vader didn’t become the Dark Lord because he WANTED to be evil. He had a damn good reason to turn around. You also need to have a good reason why you are making the exceptional offer that you are making. Did you make too many widgets? Do your partners come in exchange for a late payment? Do you have to liquidate the supply of cassette products? Be honest, but let the prospect know “why” this deal is a no-brainer.

May the force be with you.