Trend watch: I am seeing fewer of those ads that use the phrase “weird trick.” Like, “lose a pound a day with this weird trick!” I guess people are sick of the old weird trick angle. Now, the big thing is, “You won’t believe,” or “You’ll never guess,” or “this will blow your mind!” It’s to get you to watch a video. Like, “This cat sat on the toilet seat and you won’t believe what happened next!” or, “This poor desperate homeless man started to dance and you’ll never guess what happened next!” or, “This beat-boxing grandma started hip-hop dancing and what the cows in the nearby pasture did next will blow your mind!”
I don’t care what they did! I don’t care about the cat, or the dancing homeless man, God forgive me — I mean, of course I care about him in the sense of, maybe I can somehow help this homeless person — or the hip-hopping cows. If the video is that good, just say what happens. It feels like people are resorting to lures to reel you in. We’re at the tent circus and P.T. Barnum is advertising the Ancient and Mysterious Wonders of the World: Lobster Boy, the Three-Legged Man, the Seven Veils Dance, Alligator Girl!
I just did a search of these words “you’ll never guess what happened next,” and got 43,600,000 hits. Really? Are we that jaded a society that this is what needs to happen to make us click on something?
I often do click, with a resigned sigh… Oh, good Lord, what is it, I’d better find out. Tick, tick, tick, there go some seconds of my life, along with some brain cells. I feel like a sucker. Just tell me in an unmanipulative way what’s in the video. Put it right out there. If the cat flushes the potty, just tell me. If the cows bob their heads, which is not exactly hip-hop dancing in my mind, but who am I to quibble, just tell me. Or the grandma, for that matter. Does she do the splits? That’s pretty exciting; I’d take two minutes out of my life to see that. If the homeless man dances and he’s the Gene Kelly or Mikhail Baryshnikov of the soup kitchen, hey, I’d watch that. If the dog steers the car, just say, “Wow, this dog steers a car!” instead of, “You are literally unable to comprehend what this video is about to show you.” What’s next: “You’d better be sitting down for this.” or “Somehow fashion a seatbelt for your chair, because this will blow you away!” or “Maybe take some Benadryl to knock the edge off so you can handle what you’re about to see!” You’ll never guess what I’m about to do… it’s a weird trick I call “not clicking on this.” You won’t believe what happens next!
This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.