Is it true blondes have more fun?
In 1961, the famous copywriter Shirly Polykoff proposed this very question and changed how American women thought about their hair color. But rather than simply list product features, such as ease-of-use and price, Shirly began with a story that led customers to adopt the idea that blondes do in fact have more fun. And once adopted, sales of Lady Clairol hair-coloring products followed.
In today’s world of shrinking attention spans, it’s tempting to shoehorn product data into a few seconds. We’ve misplaced storytelling and its power to touch people. That’s why smart marketers learn from those copywriters that had the skill, and time, to develop stories. With newfound knowledge, today’s writers can write in a meaningful way.
Let’s look at Shirly’s campaign: Consider the story of a young woman with brunette hair. Although pleasant enough, she’s often overlooked and missing all the fun at play, pool, and party. But then, she colors herself blonde and the world opens up; she becomes the center of attention, and of one young man in particular. To complete her look, she uses lipstick that compliments her hair. It’s indeed true that blondes have more fun.
Play the classic TV ad below.
The advertisement follows a very specific story structure that I call the Ad Copy Framework©. It’s a storytelling pattern that you can use in all your communications to effectively move people to action.
Begin with an intriguing Invitation (also known as a Hook). By asking a question, “Is it true blondes have more fun?”, the audience feels compelled to find the answer; they’re engaged.
Then comes the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) which is told in the classic story form of Context, Change, and Resolution. Context (my life as a brunette is dull), Change (now I’m a blonde), and Resolution (I’m having the time of my life). Tying it all together is the Lesson (blondes have more fun).
Stories are powerful but customers need hard facts to back up emotional decisions. Employ an Explanation of the product (A Lady Clairol blonde is a silky shiny blonde), Data (crème rinse hair lightener), and a Credibility Statement (professional hairdressers approve).
Next, address Cost/Value. Focus less on a cheap price and more on the true value (happy romance).
Use a specific Call-to-Action (try Lady Clairol) with a benefit (you’ll love being a blonde).
To continue the conversation with new customers and reinforce the experience with established customers, offer a Next Step (try the special lipstick for blondes).
If you want to get your point across, use a story first then support that with facts; sidestep the data cluttering your audience’s mind. The Ad Copy Framework© is an overall story structure that you can pull pieces from as needed.
If you want the Ad Copy Framework© postcard, send me your address and I’ll get it to you right away.
And it really is true: Blondes do have more fun!
Brad Cochrane, The Story First Speaker