Advertising is all about surprises. Going by what the advertising guru, Roy Williams, said in his Wizard of Ads trilogy about winning customer’s attention, the advertiser must “surprise the Broca’s area with sensory stimuli other than that which was expected.”
Broca’s area is the section of the brain involved in speech production. Normally, it assesses the syntax of words while listening to and understanding what is structurally very complex.
Before I go further, let me highlight a point. Unless we have a basic idea about the physiology of the brain, it is utterly difficult to persuade people.
Now, moving on to the physiology of the brain, we have the Wernicke’s area where different words are attached to different images floating on our mind. Our thoughts are actually mental images (not words or pictures) that travel at lightning speed. In other words, one mental image is a unique blend of sound, shape, texture, color, smell, taste, and mood.
It is in the Wernicke’s area where each of these mental images are “baptized” i.e. named. It is only after all the mental images have been named that they are passed to the Broca’s area which arranges these separate words/names (as we may say) into comprehensible sentences.
However, there is a vicious cycle of not being able to strike the right chord with the Broca’s area. When Wernicke’s area attaches the “usual” words and the Broca’s area arranges them in the “usual” order, all we get is a painfully predictable result and, hence, we forget them easily.
Advertising is all about “breaking the pattern of predictability“. It is all about surprises.
So, the next time you want to persuade me, surprise my Broca’s area!!!