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?

You Are Your Presentation

It happened again. Another case of PowerPoint abuse. This time the offender was House Speaker Paul Ryan—and we’re just waiting for an SNL skit on this one. ICYMI: Last week, he held a press conference to explain the newly proposed healthcare plan—a massively debated issue. And he used a PowerPoint … Continue reading

Did You Read My Email?

If you’ve ever said or sent that question, you need these email tips. What’s the matter with emails? We read (and write) them when we’re sitting at our desks, moving between meetings (or sometimes even during meetings), hopping on the subway, standing in line for lunch, watching Netflix or even … Continue reading

Analogize It!

It’s one of the most common communications white lies we tell ourselves: “If I say the words, people will get it.” Even when your audience is well-versed in your subject matter, it’s not always true. The truth is, the most accurate data points and thoughtful analysis in the world won’t resonate … Continue reading

The Big Short

A lot of times people ask, “What are the essential components of a speech?” They’re looking for the silver-bullet, the ideal length of time spent, the appropriate level of seriousness, how much humor, how many data points to include, etc. Often, we look to TED talks, popular speeches and commencement … Continue reading

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

There’s nothing like 77 bathtubs to give you a quick idea of what “7.7 cubic meters of water” looks like. A friend recently sent me a link to this post on the current drought situation in California. Regardless of your political standpoint on Gov. Jerry Brown’s response to the drought, … Continue reading

Green Means Go

Do you remember the movie Gone in 60 Seconds? Even if you remember it as a bad movie, it’s a good reminder about how quickly we can lose our audience. The first 30-60 seconds of our presentations, speeches or reports are always the hardest part. Physiologically, it’s when our hearts … Continue reading

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

I’ve heard over 100 presentations on philanthropy and giving. I spend a lot of time recording people speaking on video. Luckily, many of us are motivated to give back, and we want to urge others to do the same. This is not a complaint – instead, there is a great … Continue reading

Your Mission Needs Passion

As we fulfill our mission to transform business communications, we have the opportunity to work with many great businesses and leaders throughout the world. Eliminating corporate jargon and reviewing video feedback are all part of the transformation process that develops into sticky messages, undeniable pitches, SHARPs and audience engagement. On occasion, however, we have the … Continue reading

Shine on your next panel

Think of that ultimate dinner party – conversation (and libation) is flowing, ideas are stimulating, and everyone’s having a grand time. That’s the experience to create during your next panel (minus the drinking). Panel discussions are the perfect way to bring people of different backgrounds together to share their influence … Continue reading