Do you really know how it is?

I saw an auto insurance commercial the other day.

The opening was this person sitting in an office saying, "At ABC Insurance, we know how it is. That’s why we [blah, blah, blah]."

I thought, huh. The image advertisers are trying to use NLP deletion. Not a bad first attempt. I don’t think it worked though. Here’s why:

The were trying to use deletion to let the viewer fill in the blanks and make their own meaning (aka the Milton Model). Trouble was that they were so vague, I was left wondering, "You know how what is?"

If I had to rewrite that attempt, I’d probably go with something more along the lines of, "At ABC Insurance we know what a hassle auto insurance can be. That’s why…" Almost everyone would hear that and think, "of course it is," and you’ve just built rapport. Auto insurance being a hassle could mean any number of things from having an extra bill to pay to dealing with customer service to filing a claim in the event of an accident. The specific content doesn’t matter.

The bottom line is that if you’re going to use the Milton Model, you have to make sure you’re calibrating how vague and specific you are. Give them enough to fill in a meaning and that’s it for that pattern.

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