Spoiler alert

Phil Morley, our Director, Employee Engagement, discusses how to tease an audience into wanting or perhaps needing more - and the movie trailer that failed to trail.

As part of a new year's resolution I’ve been going to the cinema once a week with my wife after work, and this week we went to see “Can you ever forgive me?” and it was excellent.

Well almost.

What took the edge off, and something I can’t forgive, was the trailer. And for some odd reason the venue chose to show it just before the film, which heightened the issue for me.

As the credits rolled at the end of the film, it transpired that the two and a half minute trailer had provided just about all the essentials of the story and included most of the best scenes and lines. Whilst the acting, dialogue and cinematography were brilliant, it subsequently felt like a hundred and four minutes of supporting content. Great, beautiful, witty and engaging content but just thickening the narrative rather than revealing it. The issue for me was that the trailer failed to trail.

It needed to leverage what is known as the Zeigarnik Effect. This suggests that unfinished or incomplete tasks create a kind of mental tension, which then keeps it at the forefront of our memory, making us want to find out what happened, to get closure.

We often use this in our employee engagement campaigns, although we usually call it the tease. This is a simple and short communication activity that happens immediately before the launch or reveal, and is all about providing a glimpse, just enough to spark interest and fuel intrigue. As such it's often a chance to have a bit of fun and unleash some creativity.

For campaign teases and trailers the secret ingredient is the one that is absent. The gap that needs filling, the start that needs finishing. The ability to quickly engage the audience into wanting or perhaps needing more. Selling a story and telling a story are two critical but very different tasks and require two different sets of creative thinking, and ultimately two different types of outputs.

To find out more about we can help sell and tell your story, please get in touch.

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