It’s funny, we tend to remember things and moments when we were surprised: A startle, an angry outburst, a close call, an unexpected moment. The moment of surprise heightens our senses and makes an indelible mark in our mind.
For most of advertising’s existence, the art of surprise has rested in the use of humor. A catchy turn of phrase or a visual joke technique has been the crutch to carry the surprise moment. The differentiation is not in the product, but in the laugh.
Yet sometimes the surprise is subtle, and in some cases more effective, than a joke. I saw one of these micro-surprises at the grocery story. I observed (not in a creepy way) several shoppers stop and look at the floor-mat ad and then look at the new product. 1 of the 2 people I observed bought the product.
The floor-mat achieved the element of surprise: It really stood out on the high gloss floor. And it contained a very important word to drive the differentiation home. And that word is “new.” In a world of yogurts, how do you differentiate? You start by surprising your customers, even if it is a micro-surprise. This surprise doesn’t need to be remembered, but it needs to tweak the mind just long enough for the customer to take a look at the new product.
Meeting people right where they are and not through a separate medium can have a strong impact on message communications and differentate you from all the yogurts in the world.