Copy Tip from the Nazi Dentist

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My filling cracked yesterday.

Years of gummy bears took their toll, and I was whisked off to the dentist’s chair – for 40 minutes of nerve-scraping, jaw-thwacking agony that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Except Michael Gove.

And as I sat there, squirming….and thinking “Why bother? I’ll be dead in 50 years anyway”…who should pop into my head?

Yep – Larry Olivier. As the Nazi Dentist, pummelling Dustin Hoffman’s gnashers in The Marathon Man.
Have you seen it?

You should. Cos it’s a darn good lesson in how to write sizzlin’ copy.

See, Olivier’s demon dentist is all about the pain. Give him a drill and an open molar, and he’ll get you begging for mercy. Till suddenly, out of the blue, he whips out an antidote.

Apply this, he says, and that indescribable agony goes away in a second.

Put yourself in Hoffman’s shoes there.

Your head is pounding. Your nerve endings are shattered. You feel like you’ll die if this thing continues…

Wouldn’t you do whatever it takes, to get that magic cure?

Yeah, you would. You know you would.

I would. Gove would.

And so would your customers.

Meaning – touch the raw nerve in your copy. Show the customer how life without your widget is pure, gut-wrenching pain.

And I mean, get brutal with the truth here. Full-on dental-level sadistic.

Then you don’t have to follow it up with a big sales number.

Because they’re already at “Gimme the cure!” – ready to bite your hand off once you offer it up.

Now…for the record…I’m not talking about emotional bullying here. The type of copy that says “Buy it now or I’ve lost all faith in you as a human being”. Or “Everyone hates you, but this is your one chance to change all that…”

I hate that stuff.

No, just be real – but frank. Describing their pain today, and how it’ll only get worse tomorrow. Nowt wrong with that. You’re not manipulating…just telling it like it is.

Go try it.

Be the Doctor (or Dentist) of Harsh Reality…and watch them line up for the cure.

UK Copywriter James Daniel

James Daniel

You might not know who I am, but no doubt you've read my copy. If you've ever bought a hearing aid, a pizza oven, flat roof or vacuum cleaner. If you've hired a will writer, an IT guy or accountant. If you've been to events on marketing, acting or how to buy a business. There's every chance it started with a bit of my copy - a few simple, chatty, gently persuasive words. Ring any bells?

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