Mystery Draws Them In …
Ever watch a movie trailer and get the sense that you’ve seen all the best parts already?
Ever looked at a book cover that is too literal with its illustration and felt like the whole story including the end is right there in your face?
There is no mystery – you don’t have to have the experience beyond what you’re already seeing to find out anything, so why would you bother going beyond that point?
It’s like when a friend tells you the end of a movie – the desire to go and see it can be destroyed. It used to be something that was embedded in the notion of telling a story about something – especially visual story telling, where you don’t have to have these huge elaborate things created to get a sense of what the movie maker is trying to convey. Being able to literally craft anything with digital manipulation has in some ways deadened that aspect of storytelling … except think about stuff like Cloverfield and you can see that people, though they may want to be wowed, also want to be intrigued.
If a movie or a book or any media is to re-create the thrill of something experienced in real life for the first time it needs to be something that you discover – not something that is laid out for you and demands nothing of you. You want something – you want an answer, but if you don’t have to work for it it really doesn’t have the same value.
Ever go to a website and all the answers appear to be there, so you have no need of speaking to the company? Ever seen a piece of promo that does the same job?
Ever got hooked into the notion of owning the latest gadget from Amazon or Apple because of sneak preview? Ever been intrigued by something in a Star Wars movie because the trailer just leads you on?
Presenting Everything Up-front Kills The Reach
If everything is dropped in your lap, or there is no struggle to get hold of something, where is the sense that you had to earn it? If a restaurant has great reviews I might not care about the specifics of what is on their menu – I might just go because I am intrigued. I understand if you want to order online that everything needs to be laid out for you, but sometimes just knowing, for instance, that a place has great gluten free dishes might be enough to get me to show up there, and then I am going to decide what to order when I get there.
Part of the greatness of bookshops and record shops was hunting through the racks and through the shelves, and finding that book that you hadn’t heard, or perhaps some rare white label that you didn’t even know existed. There was a certain romance about it, and a real sense of reward when you finally tracked down something rare that no one knew about. You do still have to know just a little bit more to be hip to the more eclectic stuff out there, and it is great that you can find pretty much anything online, but there is something that got lost in the shuffle.
If you build a campaign around hints, around not giving everything away up front, people will be asking questions, and when they are asking questions you know you have their interest.