The other day, someone told me that some “expert” says you never should use a metaphor in your radio commercial copy.
“Metaphors don’t work in radio advertising,” he was told.
That’s incorrect. (Notice how I resisted the impulse to say, “That’s dumb”?)
While many bad copywriters introduce metaphors where none is needed, metaphors are especially useful in advertisements for products or services that are new to the marketplace and foreign to the targeted consumer.
Attendees of my Hypnotic Advertising seminar might recall my mentioning a British commercial for Toy R Us, when the brand still was new to the UK.
They wanted to communicate just how big this toy store was. They could’ve told us the square footage — which would’ve been meaningless to most of us.
Instead they said, “It’s a toy store the size of a sports field.”
Bam! People could picture just how big that store is.
As a side note, whenever I would share that with a North American audience, later that day when I’d ask, “Does anyone know how big a Toys R Us store is?” and the response always would be, “The size of a football field.”
As I teach during the seminar, listeners’ brains automatically change or add little details to make the communication more relevant to them personally. That’s thanks to the phenomenon called “closure”: the natural tendency of the human mind to impose order upon chaos.
No one in America says “sports field.” So their North American brains unconsciously transformed “sports field” into “football field.”
Why? To make the metaphor stronger and more compelling.