Why Spongebob’s F.U.N. Copywriting Formula Would Never Work

I was obsessed with Spongebob as a kid.

Spongebob birthday parties, Gameboy games, lunchboxes.

And the humor of that little cartoon invertebrate still makes its way into my own humor.

So this morning I was thinking about the episode where Spongebob tries to turn Plankton into a “good” citizen of Bikini Bottom.

And he teaches him the “F.U.N.” song.

🎵 F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for “u” and me, N is for anywhere and any time at all down here in the deep blue sea! 🎵

Plankton, excited, bursts out into song.

But it’s a little … off.

🎵 F is for fire that burns down the whole town, U is for uranium … BOMBS, N is for no survivooors!!! — 🎵

Spongebob cuts Plankton off mid-stanza. He doesn’t get it.

The problem is that Plankton is inherently evil, and the “F.U.N.” format will never work for him.

This is a lot like copywriting formulas.

Think PAS (problem-agitate-solve), AIDA (attention-interest-desire-action), UUUU (useful, urgent, unique, ultra-specific).

Or whatever new “formula” the latest copy-guru has dreamt up.

Now — I’m not saying these formulas are as evil as Plankton. I certainly learned a lot from using them when I started writing copy.

But if you want to grow as a copywriter, you eventually have to move beyond them.

More important than formulas is knowing how to develop a deep (yet relevant) understanding of your market … and how the product you’re selling can help that market.

Any copywriter worth their spit should know how to do this.

One quick method I use is something I call “comment arbitrage.”

Here’s how it works:

1. I search comments from product similar to the one I’m selling on Amazon (or I search a YouTube video or Reddit thread related to a problem my market has)

2. I copy and paste all of the most “emotionally charged” comments — especially ones that talk about specific problems or desires — into a Google doc

3. I comb through the doc and look for common themes, and use those themes as starting angles in my copy

Instead of trying to force a product to fit into a copy formula, I have the sales argument right there in front of me.

It becomes a natural jumping off point to build from.

So … try it out.

And if you want me to critique your next piece of copy using this tip, go to www.stealthiscopy.com and sign up for my daily copywriting emails.

I have a very unique offer (mostly for junior and mid-level copywriters) that can help you become a much better writer in just 20 minutes.

David Patrick

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