“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” – Marie Antoinette, Born Nov. 2, 1755.
And just think, she said this like 220 years ago. Even earlier, someone else said “there is nothing new under the sun.”
It was true then, and it’s true now. AND IT’S GOOD!
Especially if you sell things.
See, one of the easiest ways to get people excited about anything is to tell them that it’s NEW. Fresh. Previously unreleased. Never before seen. You get to be first! Isn’t that great?!
But it can be a real albatross to try and think up “new” things for people to be interested in.
Originality is a burden.
But it doesn’t need to be. Nothing is really *new* after all.
One of the easiest ways to constantly generate content that FEELS new to the reader is to combine the old with a new perspective.
Most often, this means just adding a modern context. An interpretation of the ancient wisdom made practical for today’s times.
For example, taking quotes from people who lived hundreds of years ago, and giving it a spin relevant to readers today. (Do you see what I did there?)
But let’s look at copywriting and not just content.
In our own niche, creating offers to sell products or services for clients – this trick of making the “old” into the “new” can be done via the classic “swipe file” of old, effective ads.
Whatever angles and pitches worked before will work now, with only minor updates.
Humans don’t change much psychologically, after all. We all want comfort, ease, luxury, etc. We all feel struggles, frustration, and pain.
Connecting that to the product or service that will move them from bad to good is pretty much always the same.
But they way you say it changes. The way you present it changes. Tastes and expectations shift generation by generation. But humanity doesn’t.
And the trick is, you don’t even have to pretend what you’re doing is brand new, or attempt to hide your references to older things you’re “remodeling” in this way.
There is a great appeal in “rediscovering” the secrets that have been forgotten, overlooked, and passed over by others.
Finding buried treasure from the past has always appealed to people. It’s always seen as a “shortcut” to success today. We always venerate the past, and helping people recapture that glory and benefit from it once again is something they get very excited about.
Nostalgia is yet another avenue people find endlessly appealing. Take what is old and refresh it. Parents like to share things with their kids that they themselves enjoyed as kids. The Disney Empire is built on this.
A recent example from my own life is the Addams Family cartoon movie recently released. My sons watched it on streaming and liked it.
So my wife and I showed them the movies we saw in the 90s.
Which was based on a TV show from the 60s.
Which was based on a comic strip from the 1940s.
And even that “original” version created by Charles Addams was based on older things he borrowed and combined into something that seemed fresh, though familiar to his readers.
The basic concept was “what if an old gothic literary family from the 1800s lived “today” (in 1938 when he created them).
I’ve digressed a bit. By now you’re used to it from me, right?
To get back on track. Don’t be stifled by the belief that you need to *create* anything that is actually new. That desire for the new is for buyers and consumers.
And they hunger for it only because we constantly tell them that what we are presenting is “new” – which to them, it most likely IS if they’ve never seen it…
<!—- lagniappe Here is a quick list of ways you can take what is old and make it feel new and exciting. Some may seem gimmicky, but hey, making sure the content or product warrants it is up you you or your client. These are just words... 1. Rediscovered wisdom that has been forgotten. A classic. Plenty of raw material to choose from, just add new context. 2. New version for 2021! Fix the typos, update the screenshots, sell it again. 3. Keep the angle, change the dressing. Old ads sound old-timey, but often the emotional core is perfectly viable today. Dust it off and say it in today’s parlance. 4. Presentation revamp. A fresh coat of paint can do a lot. A new look, a new modality - make an old out of print book into a video course, for example. Redo the website for a product launched and forgotten a few years back. Easy. 5. Commentary and interpretation. Collect the “facts” in a given field that are considered to be always true and universal, and then present them with your own dissection. Like this article is doing RIGHT NOW, for example. I could go on, but let’s save some for next email. :) —->
1 thought on “People Want “New” – Which Is Just “Old” With Fresh Paint”
Truth! Just about everything – especially in marketing – is just repackaged older wisdom. Sometimes it's delivered with a 'new' tool or technology – but laid bare, it's the same 'ole same 'ole. Which is okay if it works. 😉 Great post, Colin.