Us humans get bored easily. In fact we’ll do anything to avoid boredom at all costs. It’s why we’ll commonly throw aside the instruction manual to our new multi-purpose, 15-function food processor and just give it a go ourselves. Sure, we could commit fifteen minutes of our lives to reading the manual. It’ll probably give us all the information we need. But frankly, if we just start using the thing there’s a chance we’ll work things out ourselves in a matter of seconds. Logical? Maybe not. But the manual represents the possibility of being overwhelmed, confused, and worse still, bored. So we’ll happily take the gamble.
Often, information overload triggers this boredom-avoidance reflex. Too much information scrambles our brains. It trips something out in our evolutionary hardwiring. Sometimes, our decision to avoid it is informed by a conscious decision- making process. But our brain is incredibly adept at making these decisions for us. It has to be. Information surrounds us. Swamps us. We’d drown in it if our brains weren’t so skilled in this process of unconscious editing. It boils down to the fact that when there’s an endless influx of information vying for our attention, there needs to be an element of quality control.
Impact On Advertising
And so it goes with advertising, when done right, respects this well-established law. Great copy can move us, motivate us, inspire us or simply inform us. At its best, it can do all of these things. But ultimately, the most successful kind of copy gets to the point. Fast. As consumers, we’re busy and distracted. If a piece of copy looks heavy on the eye, if an advert is bogged down by superfluous information, so long! We’re moving on and you’ve lost us forever.
So no matter how life-changing your product is, no matter how incredible your after- service care might be, it matters not a jot if your message is full of waffle that muddies the message.
Now of course there’s a balance required. Brevity is all well and good. But we are, after all, humans, not information-processing automatons. A persuasive advertising message must speak to our emotions and offer us something that explains, in some way, how a product or service can enhance our lives.
In short, a great piece of copy often involves taking a cleaver to voluminous amounts of information. It requires a consideration of what your customers want to hear, not what you want to say, and then communicating as succinctly as possible. Because if you have something valuable to offer and explain it in the right way, people will take notice.