Zap! Boom! Pow! Use Will Smith’s “Magic Formula” to Ramp Up the Selling Power of Your Copy

Will Smith has made Hollywood history.

And his personal “magic formula” can accelerate your growth … and income … as a copywriter.

His most recent film, Hancock, has raked in $107.3 million since its release last week. This makes him the first actor to star in eight straight movies that brought in over $100 million.

Simply put, Will Smith is the industry’s most “bankable” man.

How does he do it?

A recent USA Today article reveals his secret …

“I study patterns,” he says. “Nine out of the top 10 biggest movies of all times have special effects; eight out of 10 have creatures in them; seven out of 10 have a love story. So if you want a hit, you might want to throw those in the mix. I just study patterns and try to stand where lightning strikes.”

As a copywriter, you can use Will’s “magic formula” of studying patterns. In fact, if you plan on becoming an “A”-level copywriter with the earning power to live out the life of your dreams, this might be the easiest and quickest way to get there.

Here’s why:

Your biggest challenge as a copywriter is to attract and keep your prospect’s attention. The better job you do of this, the higher your response rate—and the more money you and your clients make.

One way to learn how to keep your prospect engaged all the way to the order device is to study control promos that are, or have been, blockbuster hits.

But you can take it one step further by actually studying the patterns in movies like Will Smith does.

Legendary copywriter Gene Schwartz regarded watching successful movies as the best way to train a copywriter in writing persuasive, engaging copy. His reasoning was that popular movies do a masterful job of keeping an audience captivated, all the way through the credits.

In fact, Gene used to tell copywriters to watch the blockbuster film, Lethal Weapon. It keeps the audience riveted right from the start with an explosion, and every few minutes there’s a new action scene.

But Gene isn’t the only one who knows the value of watching a hit film.

Gary Bencivenga, considered the world’s greatest living copywriter, suggests it too.

Gary says, “Watch movies, because movies are the playgrounds of human emotion. As a marketer, you want to be an expert in human emotions. As you watch, try to identify every emotion the actors are playing, and let yourself feel it intensely. It’s fun and instructive.

“You’ll also open up your emotional channels as never before. This will help you immensely in writing more emotionally powerful copy, because you will feel what you are writing about.”

Without question, movie watching can put you on the path to crafting control-crushing copy that can earn you industry-wide respect.

So what patterns do you look for?

Structure. Part of what Gene Schwartz loved about the movie Lethal Weapon is that it has an identifiable pattern in its structure. Action scene … dialogue … action scene … dialogue, etc. This pattern creates what he called a “rhythm.” When you watch a movie, notice how often an action scene comes up … how often dialogue between action scenes occurs … at what points new plot elements are introduced. You can use this same pattern, or “rhythm,” in your copy.

For instance, begin with an attention-getting headline (action scene) … a compelling lead (dialogue scene) … followed by a new, and attention-grabbing piece of information (action scene), etc.

Emotions. Just as Gary Bencivenga suggests, analyze and feel the emotions in a movie. Understand how you’re being set up to feel them. Did the movie give you a peek into the main character’s troubled past? Was a word said in a certain way? Was it the music? Facial expressions? How many times throughout the movie are your emotions jerked?

Also, notice patterns across different hit films. Maybe 8 out of 10 focus on suspense and anxiety. And maybe only 6 out of 10 focus on happiness and hope. Knowing these patterns will clue you in to what emotions “sell” best.

Plot. What is it about the plot or story that’s engaging? Do 9 out of 10 movies follow a similar plot structure? At what point does the plot climax? The answers to these questions can help you keep your copy fresh and engaging. For instance, many hit movies might seem predictable at first, and then go in a completely different direction than expected, to grab your attention.

Hit movies offer a great copywriting education. Watching them is the quickest, easiest, fun way to learn how to gain and keep your prospect’s attention all the way to the sale. Plus, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of human emotion.

Next time you watch one, don’t just watch it. Study it. Who knows, it might lead to a string of million-dollar controls—making you the most “bankable” copywriter in the industry.

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Published: July 10, 2008

1 Response to “Use Will Smith’s “Magic Formula” to Ramp Up the Selling Power of Your Copy”

  1. I enjoyed this one. I love watching great movies and I do analze them. Now I'll pay more attention. Thanks.

    YorkyMomJune 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm


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