Why We’re Such Suckers for Great Copywriting and How You Can Get in on It

I’m not only the willing victim of modern emotion-based advertising originated by public relations pioneer, Edward Bernays, but I’ve pushed the opiate he created. In my 30-year professional career, I’ve directed the advertising and marketing of some of the most expensive, exclusive and beautiful real estate in the country. Bernays’ opinions encouraged marketers like me, to hit on the drives and desires that pulsate just below the surface of rational, fact based consciousness. I came to understand, if the marketing message is successful, human beings will become avid consumers of well… just about everything. Needs will no longer matter in the buying process. Want. Desire. Escape. Exclusivity. Cool. These are the things, he proved, that we could tap.

In marketing, we have come to know a certain truth: the idea that products and freedom, individuality, independence are one in the same.

Every minute brands bombard us by well-crafted words about dreams, hopes, aspirations and attaining and hanging onto Cool. Created by some of the most talented wordsmiths on the planet to sell us everything from pantyhose to insurance, but we really can’t blame ourselves - we’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dog by the best, for decades.

I’m not suggesting it will; it should or that I could change the footrace of consumerism. This idea is not about demonizing consumption; rather it is an idea about shifting our perspective about what we value.

I invite you to try a little shifting.

What if you read this three-word piece of wizardry and think about how it applies to you and your team at work - everyone from the receptionist, accountants, and assistants to the hardworking guys and gals putting your crap into code or your crap into boxes? What if you took this slogan and put it to work in your family? Your significant other? Your network - your real network, not your LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter network?

So much of our efforts today are about the “me”. Achieve individual success. Get where you’re going. Seemingly heroic achievements of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Tony Hsieh and Warren Buffett.

Artist Jeff Koons.

On November 12, 2013, Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog sold at auction for $58.4 million - the most expensive work of a living artist. But here’s the thing. He has from 90 to 129 assistants working in his studio every day. To say nothing of the dozens of people who help him daily along the way.

If you’re building the next app that will change the world, or just a blogger looking to make your ideas heard - value, recognize and support your team - and your team is everyone from your Mum to your the guy that puts air in your bike tires so you can get to work.

We’re stronger together.

Question for you right now: What could I change for the better, for the teams in my life, if I said it, meant it and lived it?

That’s right. Before there was an app for seemingly everything, including the extremely time-consuming and emotional commitment in shutting off the lights and hailing a taxi by lifting your cell into the air with the word “TAXI” on it, there was doing stuff. Activating your verbs.

Zing the :ing:

Creating. Participating. Collaborating. Laughing. Singing. Mentoring. Inventing. Enjoying. Helping. Surprising. Innovating. Heehee - KISSING. Sharing lunch and talking. Taking that dog of yours for a walk. Taking your neighbor’s old dog with you. Take that call from someone who needs your help - and feel great. Take a trip - around your city or go on a voluntourism trip. Experience life - are you just the weather vane or are you making the wind blow?

There’s no app for this.

Question for you right now: Three things I would love to do this week (without plugging in).

Compliments to the wordsmith for honing this slogan down to the very bare bones. Of course, it was meant for you to purchase - what a car? A bottle of soda? A new perfume? Who cares now. It’s your slogan. How do you want to see the world differently?

How do you see yourself? Could you change your perspective on the things you think are important and Cool, right now to you, but aren’t?

I was watching the documentary Four Horsemen, and in this extraordinary, MUST see (and I mean it - on Amazon Prime) film, I heard,

“Consumerism is driven by our extraordinary social nature. We want to have the stuff so we look good in other peoples’ eyes; the feeling of shame and embarrassment or pride and maybe feeling envied. The goods are just a way of mediating the relationship between yourself and others in this extraordinarily alienated hierarchy”.

That’s true, isn’t it? Why else do we drive what we drive? Better gas mileage - I think not. Wear what we wear? $300.00 sunglasses because of the UV rating? Designer shoes because they are so comfortable. Please. Have you fallen into the brand trap? That the external now defines who you are? The bigger question is - to what degree do you depend on brands and external stuff to define who you are. Look at your stuff. Look at what makes you, you. Is the real you about just owning stuff or is the real you doing stuff?

Would you like to be less judgmental? Would you like to see the bigger picture of what’s happening beyond your life? Is money the driver for your idea of success? Do you equate your self-worth with what you have; what other people think you have? Is there any other metric for success in your thinking? Would you like to participate in life as opposed to just watching it go by? Do you choose not to get involved in things that make you uncomfortable? Do you consider time a sacred cow that won’t allow you to be active in things that could change your life of the lives of others?

What could you gain from seeing the world from a different perspective? Well… honestly, everything.

See the world from a different perspective.

Question for you right now: What am I using as a crutch to keep on doing the same things, seeing issues and circumstances in the same way that are keeping me from happiness, fulfillment, and a life of passion?

One of my all time favorites. We are obsessing about having, buying and acquiring the stuff. Consumed with being successful - meaning money. But experiences are the only thing money can’t buy. Sure, you can buy a ticket to an experience - but you still have to have the wind blow through your hair, feel the sweat run down your brow, feel enriched looking at a great painting or getting a warm fuzzy when you visited an old aunt in the nursing home. When you expose yourself to experiences, you open up all kinds of doors - to your career, to building self-esteem, to building confidence, increasing your knowledge base, meeting new people, living a passionate life…

Experience loving something or someone - fully without boundaries, try liking something (or someone) you thought you couldn’t. Or start slow - try a new tea or coffee blend, travel in a country you didn’t think you’d like, try a new food, write an article, pencil out a doodle of your boss (or investor), ride your bike to the office, learn a new language, go to Burning Man - having new experiences is the foundation for activating your verbs.

The more experiences you have the more possibilities you can create.

Question for you right now: What could I do today, for the pure pleasure of having a new experience?

Your final task: Which one of the four resonated with you the most? Which one made you go hmmm…

The more experiences you have the more possibilities you can create.
There’s no app for this.
See the world through a different perspective.
We’re stronger together.

Burning Cool - Elevating the idea of what’s Cool.

Elaine Joli is the author of Burning Cool: Why Doing, Creating and Participating is the New Cool

Contact her directly at elainejoli@aol.com