Super Bowl #2: You Can Fake It, but Not for This Reason…

How’s it going? For today’s Super Bowl commerce pitch review, I’d like to hop to the Sprint ad with the contract…

An SUV-type deal with a funny-looking guy in the seat has its glasses askew. Turns out a guy is with his two kids, tips his car over a cliff (with the dummy inside), and tells the kids he’s “dead.” After that the “Can you hear me now” guy pops up and asks him if he’s faking his death to get out of a phone contract.

After that, the son asks if that’s illegal (the fine print underneath says it is–by the by, I’m no lawyer, but where I come from, that’s called something like “constructive fraud”). The guy nervously asks his kid if he’s morphed into a cop, pretty much.

And then there’s some muttering about reliability and savings, and then the commercial’s over. (And here I was thinking the SUV guy was being hunted down by someone).

Okay, first with the downs on this thing:

The Sprint dude showing up was waaaay too random in my opinion. And then he knows exactly why the dad’s up to what he’s up to.

Which is a little weird if you ask me. They’ve never met before, they’re out in the middle of nowhere, and the guy seems to know everything.

Random wondering here–did the mom of the kids refuse to come on this caper because she tried to talk the dad out of it? I don’t know, it’s not mentioned, and I was just curious. (And I wondered why the girl didn’t say anything the whole time, and why there was such an elaborate plot in the first place for something like this).

And another thing–where are these three people going to go after the dad is “dead”? It certainly ain’t going to be back to the house where the mail is that has the phone bill in it. They’d have to start over–and it’s even worse if he has online bill pay or what-have-ya.

But if this family gets the bill mailed to them, and then never come back, someone else can pick up that bill and do all kinds of nasty things with that info, that’s for sure.

On to the ups:

I really liked the mystery in this ad. I found myself wondering who the dude was running from, which kept me interested for the first few seconds.

It also seemed like the Sprint guy had seen this whole thing play out before–why else could he “guess” and be right? That actually leads to a principle we’ll launch into.

One thing that you want to do in fiction (and copy too) is implication.

In fiction this is huge because it’s a great tool to keep readers reading–if you lead them to a certain conclusion or get them to think certain things are true (whether they are or they aren’t–even if something COULD be true), that keeps them reading to discover if they’re right or not. And as long as you wrap things up believably (meaning they really DID have all the pieces they needed, and just put them together the wrong way) you should be fine.

In copy, you can do this if you give people enough pieces to form multiple conclusions in their own head about something, or get them to say “What is it?” (As long as you can back up your claims, a’course). Something like:

“The Simple Trick 99% of Pros MISS when treating pet urine stains…”

Questions I’d think of reading that:

“Why is it simple?”

“If it is simple, why do professionals miss it?”

“Why do so MANY professionals miss it?”

And so on…

My point here?

You always want your readers to be thinking about the story behind your story, even if you aren’t telling it…whether that’s backstory about your characters, your world, or even the plot itself. If they’re busy coming up with their own conclusions, that means they’re involved with you and the story you’re telling them.

Tomorrow is Triple F–be sure to stop by for that.

Until next time,

Ty

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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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