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PROVOKE a response

If I wanted you to feel noticed, I could put you in the spotlight.

If I wanted you to feel safe, I could build you a wall.

If I wanted you to feel independent, I could tell you the story of a maverick.

If I wanted you to feel nurtured, I could listen to you.

If I wanted you to feel sociable, I could ask you to a great party.

If I wanted you to feel discerning, I could tell you a little-known fact to pass on.

If I wanted you to feel empowered, I could remove the obstacles in your way.

If I wanted you to feel reassured, I could tell you how many people have been helped in the past.

If I wanted you to feel in control, I could make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

If I wanted you to feel free, I could release you from whatever it is that constrains you.

If I wanted to give you a feeling of bonding, I could make it easier for you to share.

If I wanted you to feel a sense of achievement, I could make sure whatever I’m promising is achievable.

If I wanted you to feel curious, I could prick your interest and send you off on a journey of discovery.

If I wanted you to feel inspired, I could show you how your dream could become a reality.

Simple, really.

But that’s not how it works with a lot of brands these days.

They say they want to make an emotional connection. They say they want an emotional response to their advertising.

But then they tell you the emotional response they want you to have. They say ‘feel empowered’ or ‘feel free’ or ‘feel in control’ or ‘feel safe’.

You see it all the time. Emotional mood films and corporate purpose videos.

What you need to do is to provoke a response. Trigger it.

If you want to make people laugh, don’t tell them to laugh. Be funny.

I have only ever seen one exception to this.

When Eddie Izzard used to do his residencies at a West End theatre, the audience would be laughing so hard, he would say to them: “You’ve now reached the point where you’ll laugh at anything I say”.

And people would laugh.

“And now you’ll laugh again”.

And people did.

“And now you’re now going to do a bigger laugh”.

And people did a bigger laugh.

“And now a smaller one”.

And people did a smaller laugh.

And on it went, until Eddie let them go.

So you can tell an audience to laugh, but only if you’re as funny as Eddie Izzard.

And nobody is.

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