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?

Don’t Be A Pushover

If you ask most leaders or decision makers, they’ll tell you that they prefer not to surround themselves with ‘yes people’. Instead, they want to be challenged. Leaders want to know that critical thinking has been put into decisions—and that there’s value coming from the other side of the table. … Continue reading

Tail That Wagged The Dog

“Why does a dog wags its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.” I remember in ’97, when the movie ‘Wag the Dog’ came out—it got me thinking about things or people that control things, who really shouldn’t. … Continue reading

I Don’t Need to Prep. I Can Wing It.

Does your calendar look like the above? Many do. Just yesterday I was talking with an executive about an upcoming meeting. A few minutes into the conversation, he realized, “Whoa. This is a way bigger deal than I thought.” This is a critical week for meetings, as we’re all squeezing … Continue reading

A PowerPoint Paradigm Shift

Ever get into the rut of doing what you’ve always done because it’s comfortable – or because it’s the way it’s always been done? I’m talking about presentations – specifically the ones where you use PowerPoint. We were reminded of this when a client recently shared that he led a … Continue reading

Influence with a Point of View

What’s your point of view? It’s not a “nice to have,” it’s a “need to have” – and let me tell you why: It’s hard to argue with getting better results. But don’t just take my word for it. Recently, a self-proclaimed “Decker Super-Fan” (for reference – she’s taken Communicate … Continue reading

Don’t Waste Time: What’s The Point?

Get to the point, or I will walk out of this meeting. It’s an aggressive approach, but this strategy works for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to keep meetings moving. I love that the Washington Post shared this insight because we can all learn from it. The busy CEO has no … Continue reading

Learn from TED Live, featuring Bryan Stevenson

Our heads are still spinning from last week’s TED Live conference (we streamed it live into our headquarters all week and took down tons of teaching points and notes). What does that mean to you? You’ll get applicable bits of TED to learn from – we’ll be sharing highlights from the … Continue reading

5 Tips for a Successful Sales Kickoff

Enormous hotel. Matching notepads and pens galore. Hundreds of people riding the fence between vacation and business attire. Yup, I’m talking about a global sales kickoff meeting. Every VP Sales knows the importance of a successful kickoff, but how do you ensure engagement, education, and excitement about new products and the … Continue reading

What the TSA would say about your next presentation

Lately, the best thing about FedEx Office is the commercials. Thanks to our Program Leader Maria Ralph – who’s constantly on the lookout for examples of good, bad, and ugly communications – here’s one of the best from FedEx Office’s latest campaign: You need to be airport security for your … Continue reading