S01E09 – Words To Make The World Do Your Bidding

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

Why you should validate and fascinate people

Don't you wish you could weave some words and have people fall under your spell?

In the Principles section, David explains how author, Blair Warren, has compiled a list of 27 words that will achieve this end.

Is this hocus pocus or does it have substance?

You're about to discover it's the latter!

Meanwhile, following our remininiscing about the infamous "ants" TV commercial recently, we're returning to the topic like ants to a sugar spill.

Steve argues that the behaviour of forrager ants, well, 10-15 per cent of them, gives us some clues about what to do in the eternal battle of working out whether to say yes or no to new opportunities.

In the Problems section,

And for a dose of perspicacity (the sharpening of our minds), David and Steve reflect on a refreshingly different road safety ad, honey buns!

We hope you find this helpful.

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

02:33  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

Be Like The Ants

Author and retired poker champion, Annie Duke, has written a book called, Quit.

She thinks the concept gets a bad rap because our society has bought into its opposition disposition of grit; sticking at something all the way through, all the time.

In her interview with Russ Roberts on the EconTalk podcast, Annie's description of supposedly wayward forrager ants who are not part of the long column of other ants, provides a great example of when it is okay to say yes to an opportunity that you're not sure about.

As an aside, her book says our flawed mental accounting is what makes us confuse wins for losses; physical ledgers start from the start and tabulate what's been achieved, mental ledgers start at the end and count back.

She also revisits the intriguing thought experiment of monkeys on pedastals. Steve explains that in the episode.

14:26  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

Words To Make The World Do Your Bidding

People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.

Our job, as marketers and communicators is to try to validate and fascinate people, rather than trying to correct and convince people.

These insights are expanded upon by David, after his reflection Blair Warren's 2022 book, The One Sentence Persuasion Course: 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding.

24:03  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Velcro on your website

Steve reflects on a recurring theme coming up in mentoring.

Many websites cut to the chase, assuming visitors have a certain degree of knowledge and understanding.

However, what's really needed is some velcro; some content at the top of pages that allows people to see themselves and have a sense of safety that they are known and understood.

Every site always has room for improvement and testing.

28:02  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case stude from the past.

Accessible Adelaide Fringe?

Just how accessible is the Adelaide Fringe?

This week, we're looking at the Adelaide Fringe TVC from 2016.

Surprisingly, it is all imagery and music.

And that does seem to be a constant theme of all Fringe ads this century.

For David, these ads mean nothing, because he cannot see the content.

Does this mean the Adelaide Fringe is paying lip service to accessibility?

What would David and Steve do differently?

PS Steve has a Fringe show of his own in the 2023 Adelaide Fringe. It's called 100% MBA Success: Whisky And Trivia With Professor Longsword. It will be a lot of fun and you can follow that link for more information and tickets.

TRANSCRIPT  This is a transcript of the episode. Please note, although checked briefly, this was crafted by an AI tool and will contain errors. For quoting purposes, always check against the original audio.

Caitlin Davis: [00:00:00] Talking about marketing is a podcast for business owners and leaders, produced by my dad, Steve Davis, and his colleague at Talked About Marketing, David Olney, in which they explore marketing through the lens of their own four P's, person, principles, problems, and perspicacity. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Apart from their love of words, they really love helping people. So they hope this podcast will become a trusted companion on your journey in business.

Steve Davis: David Olney, I want to say to you That you are an awesome human being, and I feel that, especially when I'm wearing this orange macrame cardigan.

David Olney: That is quite a unique statement. I think you're an awesome human too, but I really didn't need to know about the orange macrame. [00:01:00]

Steve Davis: Well, I'm picking up on the title of this episode, which is we need to validate people and fascinate them.

Did that fascinate you?

David Olney: I think it will concern me, but I can move concern towards fascinate.

Steve Davis: So, we're going to pick up on that, based on some work by Blair Warren who has compiled a list of 27 words that apparently achieve this end of validating and fascinating people. We'll get into that. What a wonderful Christmas stocking filler this episode is already.

And actually one quick thing, David, do you think this list of 27 words is hocus pocus or is there some good substance to it?

David Olney: Based on the amount of years that Blair Warren put into doing his research to write a persuasion book and the fact that he sums it up in a single 27 word sentence and then explains to you at the end of the final, or sorry, at the end of the introduction, that he's just used it on you and everyone I know who's read the beginning of the book has gone, oh, it [00:02:00] worked.

So yes, I think he has done the best job of summarising all the sophisticated knowledge on persuasion of anyone.

Steve Davis: Well, you've baited the hook. Let's get into it.

Ho, ho, ho!

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number one, person. The aim of life is self development. To realise one's nature perfectly. That is what each of us is here for.

Steve Davis: If you've listened to some previous episodes of talking about marketing, we did tackle the topic of ants in that infamous Ants Pants commercial. Remember that, David? Can you get that out of your mind?

David Olney: The great thing is not being able to see the image. I just remember the sound of Rex as Rex gets all excited to get the ants.

Which is disconcerting enough.

Steve Davis: Yes, well I am sticking with the ants [00:03:00] theme for this segment on the person, on the human aspect of those of us listening, not the business aspect. And I've picked this up from an interview with author and retired poker champion Annie Duke. She's written a book, it's called Quit.

And I heard her interviewed by Russ Roberts on the Econ Talk podcast, which is a podcast I, I thoroughly enjoy and in it, she basically in the book says, quitting gets a bad rap in society because we're told, you know, don't give up, see things through and she's making the argument that in fact, often it's the wise thing to do to quit, especially when you realize that quitting doesn't mean quitting forever?

It could just mean quitting at this point in time. Now, be that as it may, that's the thrust of the book. But in her conversation, she started talking about ants, and lessons we can learn from ants. And she'll say, people [00:04:00] will often say, When ants discover food, those forager ants that go up, they're in single file with this big long line and how amazing that is.

But there are always some stragglers and here's how she puts them into context.

Annie Duke's interview on EconTalk: If you watch these forager ants approach like a new territory, you'll see that they're all kind of scattered around. So they're not marching in a line yet. And then one of them will find food. And they'll take the food and they'll be carrying it back to the colony. And on the way back, they lay down a pheromone trail.

So it's just a chemical trail that the other ants are going to detect. So they're only doing it on the way back once they've found food. They're laying down this trail. So at first it's pretty, you know, it's pretty faint because it's only one ant. But now if another ant detects that trail, it will now go along the trail, it will find the food.

And then when it's bringing that food back, it will also lay a pheromone trail down on top of that. And you can see how this trail is now getting reinforced[00:05:00] attracting more and more ants to the same trail until they're marching one by one to whatever the watermelon that fell on the ground. So that's how we think about them.

But actually, if you look at the behavior, once there's a strong pheromone trail laid down what you'll see is about 10 to 15% of the ants don't actually get with the program. They're just kind of like. wandering around, right? So what's the deal with those ants, right? Like, are they anarchists? Like, are they malingerers?

Like, what's the deal with these malingering ants? And it turns out, no, they're not anarchists at all. They're not malingerers. They're actually serving an incredibly important function for the colony, which is that they are continuing to explore. So you've got the answer exploiting the food source that that's high quality, a watermelon or whatever.

But the other answer continuing to explore so they're saying yes, in that sense, right? Like, they're like, yeah, sure. I'll keep go looking around. And what is it? Why is [00:06:00] that? So incredibly important that they're doing that? Well, 1st of all, the food source might go away. So someone might clean the watermelon up, right?

Maybe it's like on the back deck or something like that and someone comes out with the hose and then that, that watermelon is gone. It's really good that this 10 to 15% of the colony is continuing to explore other food sources because it means they have backups.

Steve Davis: So there we have it. The foraging ants. That aren't doing the single file thing, following the B line to that source of food, that 10 to 15% of ants are actually serving a great purpose because they're making sure there are some other options should that food source disappear. Now, the reason I brought this up here is because it came up in the conversation that Annie was having with Russ around, do you say, Yes to things even though she's talking about quitting is when is it okay to [00:07:00] say yes, and they both agreed that often Someone asks you to do something.

That's not something you've usually done. There's no clear sign that it's leading to an absolute goal, but There's something of interest in it, it does pay to say yes, some of the time, because in those experiences, you'll often get to meet people and forge new social relationships you wouldn't have otherwise.

And happenstance can sometimes open a door that leads to very different opportunities into the future. And so it's all about nuance. It's not either quitting. Or having grit. It's about keeping an open mind, definitely saying no, so that we, as I've done with my theater reviewing, I'm taking an extended break from theater reviewing because it was chewing up so much energy that I needed to divert to other places, but it's not a closed door forever.

David, [00:08:00] what's your reflection on this little?

David Olney: I like the fact that someone described it in terms of ants, because the way I used to describe it to students, is if you're only doing the things you need to do, and that's all the time you've got, firstly, it means you're not working efficiently enough, but two, it means you're always repeating yesterday, and if you're always repeating yesterday, then you're definitely missing out on something today, and you will definitely miss out on something tomorrow.

You have to build enough free time into today and plan to build it into tomorrow to do things simply for the sake of novelty, because it's in novelty that we see new patterns and new opportunities and meet new people. And if that's not built in, it's no wonder that life gets dull and frustrating.

Steve Davis: Actually, there's two other things that I want to bring up from this Annie interview. It's a great interview. I'll put the link in the show notes. She talked about how we often confuse [00:09:00] wins for losses in life, which she subscribes or puts down to our flawed mental accounting. And what she means by that is if you had a physical ledger that was counting things, you start at the beginning and you count up to where you get to.

But in our minds, we might set a goal, like I'm going to run a marathon. And if we don't make it. Instead of actually saying, you know what, we ran 13. 1 km, whatever the halfway mark is, which is actually a half marathon, instead of saying, well done, we go, oh, look how far we missed by, and this leads to a lifetime of woe with this sort of tabulation, whereas if we'd set out to do a half marathon, then it's exactly the same outcome, but we tabulate it very differently and it causes a whole lot of concern for us. What do you think, David, of that?

David Olney: It's very much, you know, another way to work with our negativity bias. If we don't capture the good [00:10:00] things that happen because negative things are so powerful, we won't acknowledge the positives.

So if we simply set out to say, let's run a little bit further every week and see where we are in 12 weeks, and every day you wrote down how far you ran, and you said, I'm going to run five days a week, and at the end, you know, suddenly you're doing, you know, 13 kilometers, where you started at two or three.

That's stunning, and you've got the data to prove it. And it's only if you've got the data that you'll remember that. Otherwise, the first week you don't do your five days, it'll be like, oh, why am I doing this? I'm not doing my five days. It hasn't been a success. So really, you need every tool that you can build in to bake in not letting your negativity bias win.

Steve Davis: Wow. And look, that is particularly the case for those of us who are solopreneurs, when we don't have other people around us to help keep those measures as well. We've got to find that intrinsic way of measuring our progress and taking moments to enjoy. The things that we [00:11:00] have actually achieved, which is, as you say, possibly more than our negativity of bias allows us to acknowledge, but one other thing I just want to throw at you randomly that I loved from this chat.

She points to a model of thinking and assessing opportunities, which is called the monkey on pedestals model. It's based on this. Let's say you decide you want to make a lot of money and you're going to do it by having training some monkeys who can juggle Flaming torches while standing on top of pedestals Okay, which shouldn't tell you this David, although this will come out afterwards.

That's the entertainment. I've planned for our little Christmas lunch.

David Olney: Oh That's gonna be awesome as long as it doesn't get dropped on my food.

Steve Davis: Yes. Well, this is and this is the thing Okay So this is a new potential project And what she argues is, it's very easy for us to go, Hoof, okay, how do we start this?

There's two things. We can focus on building the [00:12:00] pedestals, or we can focus on training the monkeys to juggle flaming torches. She says, too often, we err on the easy side, and we'll get stuck into pedestals. It's not hard to build a pedestal. And if you didn't even know how to do that, you could throw in a milk crate.

You know, job done. And the dilemma is, if you start with that, and then you hit the harder task, which is, oh heck. Can monkeys even be trained to do this? You've invested so much already that you have a sunk cost bias where you just feel like you better keep going even though it might be an insurmountable obstacle.

Whereas, she says, the smartest way to look at a new opportunity is to quickly suss out what are the elements that are like training monkeys to juggle burning torches. Can you do that? Is it plausible or not? Because if it's not, you save a [00:13:00] lot of wasted energy by turning away now. And we've started using that internally to David, Marin and I were looking at some big website projects that are complicated.

And so we have been sussing out where are the monkeys juggling torches, not a bad way of

David Olney: it's a really good way of applying it, because if you start telling people about reference class forecasting and doing a skills audit, those things are very practical, but you don't get a cool image in your head.

Where if you tell people about the idea of monkeys juggling flaming torches while standing on a pedestal, and then explain what you're really doing is reference class forecasting and a skills audit. Well, it might stick better because of the entertaining image. So I give her tons of points for putting so many good things together in engaging ways that are likely to stick in people's heads.

Steve Davis: All right, well that's a good listening job over summer too, if you're hearing this roughly the time this comes out. It's a great episode and [00:14:00] I think we're going to have a quick banana and then we'll come back for principles.

David Olney: Are we gonna flambé that banana?

Steve Davis: Yes, if only we had a flaming torch.

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number two, principles. You can never be overdressed or over educated. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: David, for the principles segment, we're going to draw upon some work from Blair Warren's 2022 book called the one sentence persuasion course, 27 words to make the world do your bidding. You have brought this to my attention. Have you used this technique against me?

David Olney: No, not you, but have used it in America on attorneys in my other job and doubled the click rate on emails.[00:15:00]

Steve Davis: Wow. All right. Let's unpack this. How would you like to tackle this enigma of getting people to do things you want them to do through the use of a clever choice of words? Thank you.

David Olney: Maybe a little bit of context and then I'll get you to read his single sentence. So Blair Warren is a very good marketer.

He's also, I think, been a screenwriter and he has been fascinated for decades on how persuasion works. So unlike Robert Cialdini, or Nick Kalenda, he has not written big, long books because what he was looking for was the 80 20 rule, the Pareto principle version of understanding persuasion. What small things can you use to be persuasive 80% of the time?

And what he found is That in this single sentence he devised, if you do the five things in it, you will persuade most people [00:16:00] most of the time, because you keep doubling down on what people want to hear. It's a rather confronting sentence, because it's relying on negativity bias, which is why it's working so well.

It's also, Taking people's responsibility for failure away, which makes them feel good. And it's letting them know you will help them achieve their ends versus other people, which is the ultimate nasty win in persuasion sort of science. So whenever you're ready, I'll get you to read the sentence for the listener.

Steve Davis: People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams. Justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.

David Olney: Now I will get you to read that again [00:17:00] because it really doesn't sink in for most people until the second time.

Steve Davis: People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams.

Justify their failures. Allay their fears. Confirm their suspicions. And help them throw rocks at their enemies.

David Olney: Now, my first response to this was Yuck! Is that really how communications work? And then I started breaking it down and went Okay, the first thing is encourage people's dreams. Well, that works. If you tell people what they want to achieve as possible, they start paying attention. If you justify their failures, why they haven't got there yet, then you're tapping into sort of Carol Dweck's stuff on mindset, of the difference between having a fixed and growth mindset.

If you say, well, you haven't got there yet because you just don't have the skills ready yet, but [00:18:00] here's what we do to get there, you then, you know, allay their fears and go, well, I know what all the skills are you need to learn to achieve what you want to do, and I can help you learn them. Then you confirm their suspicions.

Yes, of course, it is hard, and not everyone's going to achieve it. But not everyone has the advantage of being you, and having me as an advisor. And the one I stopped short at, because this is the one that Blair Warren really drew out of historical examples, particularly looking at people like Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, was offering to help throw rocks at people's enemies.

And that one, I'm just like, no, let's just not go there. But the first four together are incredibly powerful, uncomfortably so.

Steve Davis: Look, I think you and I have very similar intuitions around this, and can we though, hypothetically think of a rationale in which it would [00:19:00] be okay to use your communication to help throw rocks at a mutual Enemy, and I'm wondering whether in a straw man scenario where you've built up a, a, a mythical issue or something that isn't actually citing actual physical or emotional violence on anyone, psychological violence, but is venting frustrations because of some common scourge.

David Olney: I think the only time I've felt comfortable with it when I think about it is if we can use it to get rid of racism, if we can use it to get rid of sexism, if we can throw rocks at old enemies, that, you know, I can see value in. Okay. And I think the other reason, listen, that we're talking about this is if you understand this sentence.

You can prime yourself to be aware if anyone's trying this on you. And that is very important because [00:20:00] we aren't the only communications people who found this and recognized it works. And you need to be aware that if something's flowing in a way where you just find yourself going down the rabbit hole of going, this is really convincing, really fast, and I'm really comfortable to do whatever they ask me next.

Hang on, have you literally just been Blair Warrened?

Steve Davis: Yes, there's a variation of that. I remember I used to teach a media literacy class for different school groups and one of them was just making them aware of if you're watching the news or reading the news and feeling yourself getting emotionally stirred up, is that legitimate or are you being played with?

Is the journalist or the news outlet going for that easy lever? To keep you glued and stirred up so that you stay connected to the channel. We keep this in the small business, small to medium enterprise focus and, and try to find the positives. To encourage the dreams of the person you're writing to, [00:21:00] justify their failures, etc.

David Olney: And allay their fears. Those three definitely, I think, are massively helpful.

Steve Davis: To do that. You need to know who the heck you're writing to, which means we can't shake off the necessity of being clear about our buyer personas, can we?

David Olney: No, we are absolutely back in persona land. The big thing that comes out of Blair Warren's little book, and it is a little book, is how deeply he researched how well highly persuasive communicators understand their audience.

Steve Davis: There's one other part to this, which is where the title of this episode is drawn from, and I've slightly paraphrased this summary. He says, our job as marketers and communicators is to try to validate and fascinate people rather than trying to correct and convince them. It's pretty good.

David Olney: It's very good because it's doing what we try and help clients do so often, and making [00:22:00] them realize, hang on, if someone's searching for information, they're doing it because they've got a need to solve a problem or a desire to achieve a goal, and the research will become rational, but it's primarily emotionally driven.

And validation and fascination are highly emotional. And correcting and convincing is highly rational. And actually, unless it's professionals talking to other professionals using common language, common tools, common rules, common facts, correction and convincing just makes most people turn off to most things.

Steve Davis: Yeah, because you sense it's suddenly getting serious and they're pushing you towards purchasing and most of us don't mind buying, we just hate being sold to, for having pushed to that, we like to own that journey.

David Olney: Whereas if you can just say to people, well done for narrowing it down to some really good products, you know, validate to start with and to fascinate, go, and now tell me what it is [00:23:00] you really need the product to do, so I can show you how ours does it for you.

Steve Davis: Would you recommend this as a book to read or just taking this sentence from our show notes and Reflecting on that would that be enough?

David Olney: I think for anyone who has had a huge amount of professional training So that their default way of communicating is to be rational first and to use Profession specific language first.

Reading this book is a great way to realize why you need to change your language to effectively talk to lay people and beginner mind people. And why when you talk to marketing people like us, we're going to keep challenging you with different kinds of language. This book will help you understand your marketers better and understand your clients better.

So definitely worth a read.

Steve Davis: That's Blair Warren's book, it's called The One Sentence Persuasion Course, 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding. Now don't go away, [00:24:00] because Problems is next.

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's, number three, Problems. I asked the question for the best reason possible, simple curiosity. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: In problems segment this time around, I'm not opening the inbox because something's been gnawing away at my subconscious, David, and it's, it's come up so many times in the mentoring sessions we've jointly run over the past month. And it is about. Auditing the content on websites for people where they, they tend to be getting traffic, but the traffic's not sticking.

And so I've developed this thought, this, this, my own little model of adding some Velcro to the top of the page. And I think you took it to the next level and say it, those wonderful [00:25:00] Velcro suits people can wear and throw themselves against walls. And they sort of stick and click. I've never done. Have you done that?

David Olney: No, it was one of those things when I remember it being a thing, I think I was still too little to be allowed to do it without parental approval, and being the blind kid who wanted to hurl myself at walls, I'm not sure the parents were so sure.

Steve Davis: And given this episode is dropping on Christmas Day 2022, I wonder if Santa would love chimneys, lined internally with velcro material so you can just sort of waddle his way down and up.

David Olney: We'll have to get a winch for the sleigh, I think, to get him out when he's in trouble.

Steve Davis: Well, that's true. And probably makes a lot more noise. Probably wake up. Anyway, let's stick to the focus. So here's the thing.

What we find is most websites just cut to the chase. They, there is a whole series of assumptions they've made about why we visited and what we already know. So they come and they say, right, now here's the shop, go buy. Or [00:26:00] this is yeah, we've got a special magical thing that we do here and it's like how long just a minute we've got typically 8 seconds people will give us to assess whether this page looks like it's going to hit the need or not and We think that just by adding even a sentence or two at the beginning of each page That allows a visitor to go.

Oh, yeah, that's that's me. That's that's how I feel Oh, they are right All we're needing to do is earn that little moment of pause and trust so they can breathe deeply and then

It's like having the water temperature in a pool set so it doesn't brace you on that first instance, but feels so warm, you just want to slip in. David?

David Olney: That's a great way to describe it, because if the first few sentences on a page make someone [00:27:00] think, hey, this is written for me, they understand who I am, and they understand I'm a beginner at understanding this product or service.

Ah, and now it's going to ease me into some general stuff. And after the general stuff, wow, now they're giving me choices. What would I like to learn about next? A totally different approach to what so many web pages do. And it takes work to change it, but it's not, you know, it's not insurmountable. It's not impossible.

It's just a different way of building web pages.

Steve Davis: And I think it's fair to say that you can retrofit this. You don't have to rebuild a website from scratch. Sometimes, most times, you'd probably get away with just inserting this sort of introduction at the beginning, and then allow people to wander through the material that was there.

David Olney: Yeah, and probably some better headings to distinguish between general stuff and specific stuff and maybe change the order a little bit. But in the main, it's going to be about adding a paragraph at the top [00:28:00] of a page and shuffling things around that are already there.

Caitlin Davis: R4P's number four, Perspicacity. The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: For our first Spokasity segment we are going to listen to an ad from the past and consider its worth. Could it still run today and have the same effect? And came across something interesting. I thought we'd pull up a wonderful Adelaide Fringe TV commercial. It is where I can just mention the fact that I do have an Adelaide Fringe show in 2023.

Is that a gratuitous plug?

David Olney: No, it's a gratuitous plug when you say it's going to be in a whiskey bar, and we get to have whiskey while you're being thoroughly entertaining.

Steve Davis: Yeah, so if you're looking for a fun show [00:29:00] where you get to do fun business laced trivia questions, That you will know the answers to and earn an MBA business degree at the end.

It's called 100% MBA success, whiskey and trivia with professor long sword. So that character will be causing mayhem at studio 99 in Port Adelaide. But, that aside, hope to see you there. There's a great spirit around the Adelaide Fringe, and one thing it's certainly known for, especially in recent years, because I'm a reviewer as well, so I get to see in great detail everything being planned, and all the different ways they create different slices and dices of shows.

And there's probably not a social interest group That isn't catered for, where they've got curated lists of shows for people with a particular sexual orientation need, physical ability, etc. [00:30:00] And so, I was quite surprised when looking for an Adelaide Fringe ad to play for us, that none that I found, going back through the 2000s, had anything.

Of use for someone who's not a sighted human. Let's have a listen to this ad from 2016.

Now, that ad, David, [00:31:00] is very bright in its colors there was a bit of a Mexican or Spanish theme around that 2016 ad but the common thread through all these ads are unusual images. Bright colors, you know, llamas, people dressed gaudily with overdone makeup, and sequined clothes, and puffs of smoke and glitter.

That seems to be the theme, and almost none of them have any verbal cues. What do I? This just makes me wonder. Does this cause us to question just how seriously they take accessibility? Or can we give them a pass in some way, shape, or form?

David Olney: I think we have to acknowledge that they're doing it because historically it worked.

So in a world with less images, exciting images attracted attention. I wonder by the [00:32:00] time of the 2016 ad you've used, whether, you know, gaudy images have much of an impact anymore. When people are constantly bombarded by bright images in bright colors on every device they use, does that ad really resonate anymore?

So, I wonder if it's problem is not so much a lack of accessibility for anyone who doesn't, you know, have eyes that work well enough to see the ad, but whether ads like that... I just lost in the morass of imagery now.

Steve Davis: Yes, because as a sighted person, I see it, and it is now quite dime a dozen. I remember, I think it was the 2019 show, they had people twirling, they weren't monkeys twirling torches on fire, but they had humans doing it, they had all that sort of stuff.

And it's like, a little bit ho hum, we've seen it all before, on that level, so there's no novelty. I suppose there is a visual shorthand of, Oh, yeah, it's fringe time.

David Olney: Yeah, and I think that's [00:33:00] where something has to be the recognition of its fringe. You know, can people realize this is a fringe ad? If it's just spectacle, well, shrug, that's most of the visual cues coming from your handheld device trying to addict you more deeply.

But what's the bit that lets, you know, it's fringe. So is it, you know, good quality marketing in as much as it was very clear from the first second to the last, that this is all about it's fringe time. I almost wonder if just a countdown clock and, you know, fringe in, you know, a sort of good font and a good color scheme would really have more impact now.

Steve Davis: So, just at a human personal level, do you feel isolated by this style of ad?

David Olney: I'm so used to that being the norm in the modern world, that there is just so much noise. But I'm also used to the fact that there's so much information in the world now, we all slice it to only pay attention to what we're interested in, and the algorithms tailor to us.[00:34:00]

So, I can go an entire fringe season without ever paying attention to an advert, because I'm going through my feed on YouTube, you know, listening to guitar reviews and stuff about international politics. So, I'm ignoring it because, well, I ignore most stuff in that space. I get excited when a friend has a show on, or when Karen and I go through, you know, the catalogue to pick which fringe things look exciting.

But the advertising really doesn't work on me, so I'm not sure whether it's worth them trying to make it work on me.

Steve Davis: And one thing I can say is ticket sales, it seems that every year is a new record for ticket sales, et cetera. Admittedly, a lot of them going to the. The TV celebrities who just, you know, waltz over and cash in on their national fame, but nonetheless, ticket sales going up now, whether there's a one to one relationship of causality between the TV ads and that I would doubt it.

I think there's enough [00:35:00] momentum when you've got, you know, 1400 artists all actively promoting their shows. What percentage amid all that? Would the ad play?

David Olney: Yeah, very little. And I think if we take it back to our previous segment, Fringe is very good at validating and fascinating. It validates that having fun with your friends and family in a not too serious, not too much thinking way is awesome and then puts tons of things in front of you to try and fascinate you into having fun with your friends and family in a not too thinking way.

Steve Davis: I think that's a great note to end on. Thank you for linking those things, and we should say this is the end of series one of talking about marketing. We are going to have a little time off. In that time, we might be reading lots of books and possibly even running an Adelaide Fringe show, which There'll be a link to from the show notes but we'll be returning with series two in the new year, [00:36:00] and we hope you've enjoyed it.

If you have any feedback, feel free to contact us. All the contact details are on the Talked About Marketing website. You can also email, as Caitlin's about to tell us, podcast at talkedaboutmarketing. com. Everything gratefully received. Have a wonderful 2023, everybody, and especially to you.

David Olney: Thank you very much, Steve, and thank you to everyone who's given the podcast a go over the last, well, now nine episodes.

Steve Davis: Can I take off my orange macrame cardigan now?

David Olney: No, I think it's time to put on your plumed helmet.

Steve Davis: Alright, if I must, I must.

Caitlin Davis: Thank you for listening to Talking About Marketing. If you enjoyed it, please leave a rating or a review in your favourite podcast app. And if you found it helpful, please share it with others.

Stephen David always welcome your comments and questions. So send them to podcast at talk about [00:37:00] marketing. com. And finally, the last word to Oscar Wilde. There's only one thing worse than being talked about. And that's not being talked about.

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