“Sometimes you have to lie. One often has to distort a thing to catch its true spirit.” – Robert J. Flaherty, Born Feb. 16, 1884.
Consider a poem, which often describes reality with a refined and elegant metaphor – one that reveals a deep but unobservable truth about a given thing.
But despite the bard's immortal prose, love is NOT a red, red rose. Juliet is NOT the sun. Those are lies.
Consider also a painting, that represents reality seen through the selective choices of the artist's hand and eye. Light, color, shape, angle – all altered and enhanced to bring out an underlying beauty in the subject, which is not so much part of the original experience, as it is a commentary on it.
Cici n'est pas une pipe. Vegetable oil and plant based pigments, smeared onto woven cotton or plaster or wood – not the real object. A trick of perception. A lie.
Consider too the film that is based on a true story, but is edited with dramatic license to control pacing and tension, and to create a more satisfying arc of development – one that actual real life stories almost never have.
Based on a true story, but BETTER. A more entertaining lie, when truth isn't as believable as it should be.
Now consider (finally) an advertisement…
Which people get super defensive about when I connect with lying…
Understand that only a lawyer can give you legal advice on whether your copy falls within the confines of the laws you operate under…
But within the realm of what is legally allowed, you should absolutely be distorting reality in order to reveal and expose the hidden but TRUE inner essence of the product or service on offer.
Exaggerate the positives and compound them with each other. Minimize the negatives (or pivot them into benefits).
Make a legendary figure out of the product creator or service provider. Their story is a tale of destiny that is culminating RIGHT NOW with your reader's decision to purchase this life changing product – a product which is merely the hinge upon which their entire existence will now bend toward a more desirable and successful angle.
If you color outside the lines and push it too far just say “fuck it” and keep going. Trim it back later, but get lost in the poetry of it for the first draft at least.
Become Monet, and don't paint boring flowers. Paint the glorious radiance of the sun as it bounces off those flowers in an array of colors unbound by form…
Don't tell a true story – tell a story BASED on a true story but improved for dramatic impact and emotional satisfaction.
Lie until you chisel the hidden truth out of that block of rough stone.
Or boo hoo hoo about how lying is wrong and you would NEVER! *clutch pearls for emphasis*
<!—- lagniappe Want to know how we can use LIES to more effectively sell things? Here are a few ways people are lying to you ALL THE TIME in advertisements, and if you want to be any good at ads yourself, you’ll take note. 1. Who is doing the selling? This is the main and most obvious one to anyone who is a hired gun copywriter. We pretend to be the business owner or product creator. We let them sign their names to our words. But that’s a lie - we are an assassin of seduction and we create a lie for someone else to tell like they made up these sweet peachy words their own self. 2. What is the story? To the extent that they still exist, look at mass market TV commercials for consumer goods from the mega-corporations. Fictional people in fictional families experiencing fictional situations in which petty products play an incidental role in major life events. Like the kids will love mom more if she uses a certain laundry detergent. 3. What does the product do for people? Testimonials sell the bejeezus out of stuff - but logically, someone else’s experience does not at all predict what will happen for me. But it FEELS like it SHOULD. Show me the before and after, and if I look like the before and want to be the after, I am going to be motivated to buy, even though there are no guarantees... 4. Guarantees. It’s sneaky, but ethical. When you promise XYZ result OR your money back... many people would think that if you were a crook, you would NEVER offer a refund. Now, not saying you are a crook, but if you were to just give people their money back IF they complain and ask, you might be surprised how few people do that, even if you deliver nothing at all. (Don’t do this - but...) 5. Benefits and outcomes. We talk about the ripple effects and dominoes that will tumble down once our own product solves the prospect’s core issue. We cure your dandruff, and suddenly your dating prospects are wide open! We solve your lead generation confusion, suddenly your main concern is how much it costs to change the oil in a Lamborghini. Here is the trick - when creating DRAFT copy, shoot for the moon. Let legality and reality drag you back down ONLY after you’ve created the pure fantasy dream paradise scenario. Don’t let reality hold back the vision you could create before you fully stretch your wings. Temper unlimited dreams with reality and rein it in AFTER. Don’t let it limit you before your creativity is allowed to explode. —->