The Vampire Effect: Do Your Messages Suck or Stick?

Have you ever seen a cool ad, but can’t recall what it’s actually for? You’re experiencing the Vampire Effect, a term coined after a study conducted by MediaAnalyzer Software & Research, which results concluded that attention-grabbing content—from sexy images to celebrity endorsements—was sucking attention away from what the ad was actually trying to say.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re already familiar with SHARPs, a tool used to make complex messages more easily understood and memorable. Remember, SHARPs stands for Stories, Humor, Analogies, References and Pictures. We often talk about SHARPs as a way to make messages stick. Today, take a moment to consider if your SHARPs suck attention away from your Point of View.

The recent LifeLock ad campaign asks: “Why monitor a problem if you don’t fix it?” The “Dentist” spot features a patient receiving the diagnosis that he has the worst cavity they have ever seen. Without fixing the cavity, the dentist and hygienist break for lunch and leave the poor patient helpless in the dental chair with swabs and tubes hanging from his mouth. Yes, humor wins the battle for attention, but clever analogies win the war on understanding.

In a lot of ways, we’re all in the advertising game. Our everyday communication, whether talking to our clients, spouse or kids, are campaigns of connection and influence. Because SHARPs are so fun to use, it’s tempting to use them without too much thought or discipline. What makes the LifeLock ads, above, really land is how they connect. Distinguishing between “monitoring” and “fixing” identity theft is an intangible that’s hard for us consumers to care about with much urgency, until we imagine ourselves in the same situation.

Remember: grabbing attention isn’t the same as being effective. Hardwire SHARPs to your POV to shift from merely entertaining in the moment to having lasting influence and impact.

Can you think of another example of SHARPs in advertising?

Rule of Three

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Things that Need to Be Said

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Raise a Pint to Unexpectedness

It’s rare to catch me watching a commercial. But somehow, between DVR, my kids, Twitter and all the emails in my inbox, there I was, feeling affected by 60 seconds of brilliance. Don’t think it can happen to you? Then watch below: The genius of this ad comes from a … Continue reading

Chipotle Wraps You in Emotion

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Keep It Simple, Sweetheart

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Parenting Tip: Grid Your Kids

“I hope you won’t be offended. I’ve been practicing the Decker Grid™ on my 2 ½ year old son…Holy smokes. What a great parenting tip!” The Decker Grid™ keeps your message listener-focused with an action and a benefit. You will reach your listeners if you can successfully answer the question, “What’s in it … Continue reading

Sticky Statistics

Sometimes it feels like life has become a series of statistics. Thing A is the #1 cause of Disease B, only 56% of Demographic C believes in Opinion D, and so on. At some point, we become worn down by the numbers, and they lose their impact. So, what do … Continue reading

Listen Up: It’s Time for The Big Dance

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What If Everybody is Cursed By Knowledge?

Anytime you’re presenting something – say, the ins and outs of cloud computing – and are so entrenched in that world you forget it’s possible for someone to not know all about it, you’re suffering from the Curse of Knowledge. We’ve written about this before. But what if everyone in … Continue reading