Open With The Fire

Do you know why action movies start with a crazy fight scene? Because they’re action movies. The opening sequence is to affirm what we expect.

We can find the same formulaic approach elsewhere too. Romance movies start with love, loss, or longing. Comedies start with a gag.

Now, why would our work be any different?

A question every company/brand/professional practice should ask: What’s the mission-critical, on-theme idea our customers should know we’re about, and are we leading with it as we engage the world?

Here’s advertising legend David Ogilvy with the kick-in-the-pants reminder (specific to making TV commercials in the 60s):

Open with the fire. You have only 30 seconds. If you grab attention in the first frame with a visual surprise, you stand a better chance of holding the viewer. People screen out a lot of commercials because they open with something dull. You know that great things are about to happen, but the viewer doesn’t. She will never know; she has gone to the bathroom. When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire.

Open strong. Open on theme. Know what to get across and that it has to be interesting enough to make the audience want to keep paying attention. If we send the right signal, we set the right expectation and we set the rest in motion.

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