How’s it going? Maybe that title’s just my opinion. For those of you who don’t know, Jack Aiello is an Illinois eighth grader who made headlines doing hilarious impressions of the 2016 candidates during his grad speech at school. You can check it out just the video itself over here.
(“Mass hilarity” is a phrase I use when I think something is really funny. I’ve been told to tone down my use of that phrase, but folks who usually tell me that probably won’t read this and therefore can’t stop me).
Anyway, back to Jack.
I couldn’t help but laugh through the impressions of every one of the candidates that this kid did–even getting down to mentioning the types of issues they talk about, and the way they typically talk about them.
And I don’t give five-eighths of a rip what your political leanings are–that ain’t my point.
This kid is a master strategist as far as persuasion/marketing is concerned, and here’s why:
He studied his subject(s). In this case, the candidates. They would be like his market/prospects/readers if he were a copywriter, fiction writer, or what-have-ya. He learned what they cared about and frequently spoke about and why they cared about those things (maybe). He also studied their mannerisms and more to get enough of a sense of what they were like. A lot of people–copywriters and fiction writers alike–don’t research anything prior to getting going. I’m guilty of not researching to the extent that I should. Not researching leads to dead ends and corner-painting sometimes–as in the writing’s at a dead end and/or you’ve written yourself into some place that isn’t working and you can’t solve it. Definitely not where anyone would want to be when a deadline or reader interest hangs in the balance.
Studying could include personal interviews, checking reviews online, studying persuasive techniques on why people buy what they do, doing historical research, and bunches more. What goes in, then comes out in your dialogue, bullets, and in almost everything else you’ll write.
He used current events to plan what he was going to do. He knew (and liked) the political scene, and he took the opportunity to weave that in to something he was already doing in a fun way. This can work for copy especially–as far as current events go. Maybe not religion and politics, because of the potential for controversy, but Jack was able to avoid all that because of the humor and how he connected what was familiar to some groups and maybe not others (the 2016 elections and what he and his class studied in school over the past couple years).
He gave an enduring performance. Except for the 2016 stamp and relevance there, this could go down as a great set of impersonations on its own. Sure it’s dated, but the humor and talent there isn’t.
If you’re stuck for a subject line, one piece of a character sketch, or what-have-ya, trying coming from a humorous angle. You could open up a new story for an email, or twist on how a character relates to their setting.
And if nothing else, I hope you have a good laugh–just like I did watching an eighth grader impersonate modern political figures.
Until next time,