When a company wants to convey a message to an audience many times they are faced with the battle of being “tuned out.” The reader or viewer can anticipate what the message is going to be – based on the company – and will opt out of paying full attention to the message.
In the public relations industry it has been found that adding an element of surprise can catch the readers or viewers off guard, which prompts them to play closer attention to the message.
An example of this is shown in the NFL’s PLAY60 campaign.
This commercial uses a surprise element – along with a cute kids – to keep that viewer paying attention. If the kid would have said, “thank you Cam Newton for coming to my school and teaching me how to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” the audience might tune out the message. This catchy ad not only executed the surprise element but also has shown the organization’s key messages in a more memorable way.
The ‘shock factor’ will not work every time – because that would become predictable – but utilizing the technique is a great way to wake up a sleepy audience.
Just for kicks, here is how Taco Bell used the same technique!