The RIGHT kind of attention

Yesterday’s email about AIDA and the perils of chasing attention first generated some good dialog.

Lead generation maestro Ian Brodie shared a quote from “mad man” Bill Bernbach:

Be provocative. But be sure your provocativeness stems from your product. You are not right if in your ad you stand a man on his head just to get attention. You are right if you have him on his head to show how your product keeps things from falling out of his pockets.

I love this contrast.

The first thing he’s describing is a stunt.

The second is a DEMONSTRATION.

Think Billy Mays sawing through a safety deposit box with a tool he’s pitching.

And digital marketer Jim Thornton writes:

I’ve always thought of AID part as three sides to the same coin. I know you can’t get desire without interest, or interest without awareness, but its all about relevance. If you start with desire, that generates attention really quickly.

This gets at another thing that bugs me about AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action).

It’s often presented as a copywriting “formula.”

However in practice the parts all seem to run together. Attention and Interest especially wind up in a tangled heap.

For me a formula is useful to the extent that it helps you structure an email or some other piece of copy.

AIDA winds up working more like a checklist than a solid framework.

Regardless, Jim is 100% right about starting with Desire and working your way backward.

That keeps you from getting too crazy and desperate with your attempts to corral Attention.