Pace Past Pleasure to Present Pain So Every Person Gains

by Lou

Years ago, copywriter Victor O. Schwab noticed the most successful ads were the ones that get prospects to remember situations in their past, specifically, creating nostalgia.

David Olgivy knew this when he created his highly successful “Pepperidge Farm Remembers…” campaigns in the 1970s.

We can strengthen this pattern by not only having prospects remember the good ol’ days, but by showing how their situation has deteriorated into a painful one they are experiencing now. We empathize with their problems. Here’s the pattern:

(PAST TIME) + (PAST PLEASURABLE ACTION or EXPERIENCE) + (PRESENT CUE WORDS) + (PRESENT PAIN)

And here are some examples:

• “When you first started your blog you were excited about all the possibilities: the community, the money (especially the money), the recognition, and the opportunities. . . But now, just a short time later, you’re starting to wonder why you even bothered—your bank account is still empty, your comments section is full of flames and links to sites to help with erections…”

• “Several years ago your phone was ringing off the hook with job offers. Now you can’t even get a job flipping burgers at your local greasy spoon. What happened?”

• “Remember when you had a full head of hair, you checked in the mirror and saw this great-looking guy staring back at you? Today you can barely glance in the mirror. Strangers refer to you as the ‘Bald Guy’. Your confidence is shot….”

Of course, once you have introduced this powerful language pattern, you show your readers or listeners how your offer will help bring them back to the good old days. And don’t dwell on the negatives, we want to help people – not make them feel awful. Pace and lead to a bright, compelling future.

Salon used this pattern in one of their headlines recently: “When he entered office, George W. Bush inherited a peaceful, prosperous America. As he exits, experts try to assess the devastation.” Unfortunately, Salon doesn’t end on a positive note here.

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