Book Excerpt: Bang! By Linda Kaplan Thaler

Linda Kaplan Thaler, the CEO and chief creative officer of the Kaplan Thaler Group, and Robin Koval, the chief marketing officer, have been behind some of America's most memorable ads over the last decade.

Kaplan Thaler's ideas range from the sentimental "Kodak moment" campaign to Herbal Essences' "totally organic experience" to the chatty AFLAC duck.

In Bang!, Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval of the Kaplan Thaler Group, offer advice that everyone can use when it comes to getting their own message heard.

Read an excerpt from Bang.

CHAPTER FIVE:

It's no secret why sappy tearjerkers play in movie theaters to mass audiences, while documentaries air on PBS. As dozens of books on advertising reveal, emotion sells. An emotional pitch simplifies a message, allowing it to cut across economic, gender, or cultural lines. It's a basic concept. So why do so many marketers and advertising teams have trouble coming up with an idea that touches a consumer's heart?

They think too much. That's right. Just about every advertising agency that we have come across has developed its own process for being "insightful." Time and again we hear about a set of finely honed steps-usually involving a so-called proprietary methodology for mining consumers' innermost thoughts-designed to unearth the inner truths about consumers. But these formal processes usually miss, sometimes widely, because formulas, by definition, apply a similar set of rules to every product or circumstance, thereby ignoring the very tool that leads to great insights: intuition.

A host of recent research indicates that our intuition is much savvier and more reliable than most corporations would ever admit. Today, institutes from Harvard University to the U.S. Marine Corps support research on the power of our subconscious mind. "Many emotions are products of evolutionary wisdom, which probably has more intelligence than all human minds together," says New York University neural scientist Joseph LeDoux in his book The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. Timothy D. Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, ran a study that revealed that people who chose a poster for their living room wall on gut instinct were much happier with their choice than people who deliberated over the decision. Reporting on this finding and others, Sharon Begley in the Wall Street Journal noted that "there is a growing consensus that the unconscious is a pretty smart cookie, with cognitive capacities that rival and sometimes surpass that of conscious thought." Picasso claimed that his genius resided in his intuitive self when he said, "Painting is stronger than I am. It makes me do what it wants."

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