How a Bored Guy on a Couch Can Jazz Up Your Fiction and Emails

We’re heading into episode 2 of our Super Bowl commercial breakdown (you can catch episode one here).

Turbotax did a hilarious commercial that totally fizzed out at the end. Only my opinion, and that could be off the wall, but here we go…

This commercial started with a guy on a couch, watching the game (great parallel to the Super Bowl). This guy is upset, says the voiceover, because his team isn’t playing (another fact of life for a lot of people). Just like seeing a girl you think is cool dancing with some other guy. Seeing his stats, his slo-mo, and lots of footage of…him.

You can take it all back, we’re told. Just go to your computer and…enroll in a self-confidence seminar?

Tell the girl how you feel?

Tell that dancing dude to take a hike?

No. None of that. It’s actually…use Turbotax.

Yeah…wait. What?

Now, sure. Having control over your financial life is empowering, and being powerless is no fun. I get it. But it still stands to reason that a great story and buildup can fall on its face. I’ll commend this commercial for doing a great job livening up a boring subject. But the connection it tried to make was lost on me. Maybe things might have improved if they shifted focus to imply that this was a commercial about finances first, before leading to the guy on the couch with the software. Or switched to the guy on the couch again, and showed him taking back his power in real life, with that dancing guy. I don’t know.

Sometimes this kind of thing happens to fiction writers, too. If readers don’t understand something, they say “eh,” but can’t say why. They just know what IS.

Fiction writers and copywriters need to be careful to communicate with universal themes and be as sure as they can that readers are looking at the same conclusion that the writer intends by the time the story or email is over.

Let’s look at another example.

Esurance got the first commercial after the game. The spokesguy said they’d saved a bunch of money—one and a half million bucks—over getting a spot during the game. Which figured out to 30%.

“The same amount they could save you.”

Esurance, saving money on a commercial. 30%. You, saving money on insurance. 30%.

See how much smoother that transition was? Esurance is saving money. You could save money by using their service.

We’re being led toward a conclusion—not being led around a corner to discover the scary shadow was only a kitten and some garbage cans.

Smooth transition + smooth conclusion = commercials people will talk about. Again, only my opinion.

No matter what you write, being able to transition and conclude in an Esurance-esque manner will keep people following you—to the end of a story, book, an email, what-have-ya.

But it is a skill, which takes time to master. Writing is a life-long, tortoise-and-hare type deal.

That’s it for today. It’s okay to imply something (we’ll look at other examples tomorrow), but make sure your readers (or prospects or clients) aren’t scratching their heads at the end, when your solution is presented.

Next up, we’ll be looking at more bite-sized commercial pieces that packed a wallop, at least on my writer brain.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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2 Responses to How a Bored Guy on a Couch Can Jazz Up Your Fiction and Emails

  1. Pingback: Can 10 Second Snippets Make a Good Story? | Fiction and Copy Decoded

  2. Pingback: Back After A Long (Unplanned) Internet Hiatus… | Fiction and Copy Decoded

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