The one concept that jazz musicians and copywriters understand.

Dec 11, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Uncategorized

I was invited to a big corporate holiday party last week. You know, an event everyone expects but no one wants.

There was an excellent jazz trio tucked away in a corner, playing what most would describe as background music. These guys were superb technicians of both the material and their instruments. Two of them were university professors. Their phrasing, tone and balance was right on.

Still, had they not been there, had they not been so dedicated and proficient, had they not known the context of their gig, the party would have felt empty, dead and hardly celebratory. In that sense, I’m sure they were universally appreciated, even if they weren’t consciously acknowledged.

While most of the crowd was cocktailing and mingling, there were a few of us who listened intently. I think the band appreciated that.

This struck me as a dead-on metaphor for most copywriting these days: Even when it’s excellent, very few people pay attention to it. But for those who do, the substance is there and it has a remarkable effect.

That’s precisely why copywriting always has to work on two levels—not only does it need to provide the expected background music for those who don’t choose to engage, it needs to be compelling for those who examine every word.

So while one guy was ordering another Grey Goose martini from the cash bar, I spent the same amount of money in a different way: I bought one of the band’s CDs. Together, we accounted for $20 in sales. The band itself was certainly responsible for my purchase. And in a subtle way, responsible for his, too.

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Excellent analogy, man. I never thought of it like that.

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