In marketing, your toughest challenge is educating the prospect – bringing them up-to-speed.
Just telling someone why they need your offering can take an enormous amount of effort and expense. It’s why libertarians have so much trouble winning seats in elections.
You can, for example, argue a strong case for why the minimum wage should be abolished. But getting your point across takes at least 15 minutes of explaining. You can’t condense it into a 60-second soundbite on CNBC.
If you want to win an election, you’d ought to say, “Raise the minimum wage.”
That’s much easier.
And onto another bugbear of mine: the central banks, and the economic carnage they’re now wreaking on society. Whenever I bring up the central banks I lose subscribers. But I can’t help myself, because so much of what they’re doing is hidden under details that need to be explained.
It’s why my new all-time favourite meme is “money printer go brrr.”
Videos like this are ingenious for their simplicity.
There was a fairy tale I used to read as a child called ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’ In case you haven’t read it, the book is about a pair of charlatan tailors who charge the Emperor a huge sum for a new set of clothes. However, the clothes don’t exist.
The tailors pretend the fabric is so light, so exquisite, that you cannot even feel it on your skin. Happily, the Emperor pays the men, and wears his new clothes in the town. Only he’s naked. The people can see that he’s naked. But nobody dares stick their neck out and point out the obvious.
Suddenly, an uninhibited boy calls out, “The Emperor has no clothes!” and the illusion vanishes in a flash.
Anyway, I often think of the U.S. dollar – and our economy in general – as an emperor wearing no clothes.
People can sense that the economy is fake. They can feel it in their bones. They just need to be told. Above all, that’s what “money printer go brrr” is all about. And getting a point across this way is much harder than you might imagine.
The Saatchi Brothers, a virtuoso pair from the glory days of advertising, wrote a brilliant (albeit incredibly brief) book on the subject called Brutal Simplicity of Thought.
When delivering any message, the trick is to strip it down to its simplest component. It’s especially effective for posters and memes. Look at everything that’s in the shot. Ask yourself: Can I strip away MORE and keep the same meaning?
Never stop – until your message is the absolute simplest it can be.
For instance, here’s a cartoon which also attempts to explain the folly of central banks.
I like this cartoon a lot.
It’s funny and delivers a message. But with a little thought, it could be improved. We could make the firemen caricatures of prominent central bankers – like Jerome Powell and Christine Lagarde.
That would eliminate the need for the headline.
Maybe we could turn the burning building into some metaphor for the economy. With a few adjustments we can get the point across much faster. You’re also more likely to grip the reader for longer. If they see your message and think, “Oh, I get it!” that is incredibly satisfying for them. You win their favourable attention.
You get your point across faster. Your message is more likely to sink in.
‘Money Printer Go Brrr’ is funny and gets the point across fast. I’ve even read one report which said it could be the defining meme of the 2020s. There is, quite simply, no better way to explain the madness.
Let’s just hope the world is a better place by 2030.
I can’t keep losing subscribers for nothing 🙂