A glass of Pinot Grigio… a Persian cat… and an iPad

You’ll never believe what happened next!

Ripped straight from today’s headlines:

Jennifer’s Persian cat tipped over a glass of Pinot Grigio on her ipad… and you’ll never believe what appeared next on her screen! …

7 strange life-changing tricks that this man used to lose 46 pounds!

This student’s crazy study tips raised his ACT score by a whopping 8 points!

Okay, now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you that I made all of these up. I don’t know anyone named Jennifer who owns a Persian cat and downs Pinot.

But I do know the seven strange life-changing tricks that a guy used to lose 46 pounds!

Okay, I don’t really know those either, but I could make some up pretty quickly.

But that’s not the point. If you opened this to read more, you are one of millions everyday who succumb to the temptation of a nice, juicy, fat headline. And the juicier and fatter… the better!

(Never fear. I won’t ever disclose the open rate or who viewed this post.)

It’s all to make a point that marketing today (particularly digital marketing shown in the PPC ad examples below) is merely a reflection of the old … and the new … combining into a deliciously frothy serving of intrusive entertainment.

As David Ogilvy stressed so adamantly to us many years ago, and Professor Henry Hager drilled into my head in Advanced Copywriting class at the University of Missouri: always have a benefit in your headline.

So, that said, what benefit does the headline, “The cat spilled the glass of Pinot Grigio all over the lonely housewife’s keyboard … and you’ll never believe what appeared on her computer screen next! …” promise the reader?

Simply, it promises the benefit of an escape from the grind of our daily lives. And our electronic devices so readily accommodate us with escapes that we could simply coin a phrase for these types of ads as:

“Escape Marketing”

Why does Escape Marketing work? Because it capitalizes on the part of human nature that needs to feed on distraction. It’s what so many of us crave… the perfect distraction that brings us instant satisfaction. Nothing beats it. It’s free. It’s fun. It’s fruitful.

It’s no wonder why so many companies rely on this style of digital content marketing to fill their funnels with clicks, and hopefully conversions, in their never ending quest to satisfy the demand for marketing ROI.

So referring to the sample ads above:

What do these little nuggets of celebrity deceit and scandal tell us?

– That people who click these ads are suckers?
– That those who open posts starting with, “The 7 secrets to (insert phrase here)” are being duped?

Au contraire!

What it suggests is that no matter what happens to be the current hottest social media platform that is connecting us… and despite marketing platforms that provide more and more automation and charts for our analytical pleasure… what really grabs folks is an inherent need that can only be satisfied by one thing:

The need to know.

A need to know the latest celebrity gossip. A need to know the tricks to losing weight and feeling better about ourselves. A need to know the seven secrets to getting more followers on Facebook.

It’s the need to know. And it makes the absolute best online “Content”… born in our desire to know and manifesting itself in our world as a nice little mouth-watering distraction.

So, does “escape marketing” make for good content? Oh, yeah.

And here are the “seven” reasons why…