Selling the sizzle not the sex…

Conspiracy theories and those who are attracted to them can tell you a lot about what copywriting has the power to do.

Let me explain.

In this piece a 4th year student talks about a patient who came in with some of the most popular conspiracy theories. She’s anti-vaccine, anti-pharma and she’s probably a flat-earther too. Instead of trying to convince her with logic or facts from the perspective a medical professional. The attending sold her on her own logic. Used what the patient needed to convince her.

It may seem odd to surmise that there is a Russian or Chinese conspiracy to weaken the American population as a reason to take a vaccine but it works. It works because it is based on two things integral to writing good copy.

  • Putting your customer not yourself at the centre of your copy.
  • Keeping your product at the centre of your copy.
  • Keep in mind you are selling something.

Even if the reasoning doesn’t make sense to you, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to someone else. Copy is about sales, and unlike with many copywriters, I don’t have a creative background. My background is writing the copy and using it myself to sell a product. I had to understand very quickly what people wanted, why they wanted it, and produced copy that was informative and attractive.

sell the sizzle not the sex

Andy Maslen uses this to tell you how to sell a product. You’re not selling the product, you’re selling the environment that is created by the product. Whether it is true or not. If you’re selling a car, you not selling the fact that it has 4 wheels and 4 doors. You’re selling:

  • Ease
  • Efficiency
  • Sex (usually women but men too)
  • Saving money
  • Wasting money
  • Holidays
  • Freedom
  • Time
  • Gadgets

The reason why conspiracy theories tell you more about he person than the theory itself is because conspiracy theories tend to fly in the face of what can be proved. They also tend to reflect a cautiousness, (sometimes beyond reason), a way to create antithesis in a society where propaganda is rife and situations are far more complicated than the lay person can understand, and a deep need to feel special. So conspiracy theories or might about the feelings.

Sell the special

A conspiracy theory often puts something specific at the centre of it. Take flat earthers for example. The earth is flat because flat earthers can’t see that Earth is a sphere with their own eyes. NASA is the enemy because it’s easier to understand a situation when there is a good guy and a bad guy. Flat earthers are the good guys. NASA are the bad guys. Being a flat-earther makes flat-earthers feel special because they can claim to occupy a place outside of the mainstream. This makes them feel like they know something the majority don’t know or they’re questioning something that the majority don’t.

So what do you know about your audience? What are their profile? Are they flat-earthers? Anybody could be a flat-earther. If you’re trying to sell something to a flat earther, then you have to agree with the idea of being a flat-earther.

“SEAT. Taking you to the ends of the Earth.”

“The new RENAULT MEGANE. Right with you, there and back again.”

” Wherever you go. Skoda goes.”

Even in the case of the above – it’s off the end of a cliff.

Published by Lola Small

Postgraduate Londoner. Podcaster & Writer. Life is always political.

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