Create Ads That Connect Emotionally


(By Roy Williams) Freeze-frame each moment when something rocks your world.

When you cry or become frightened or get angry or laugh or are overwhelmed by a sense of wonder, reverse-engineer what just happened. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way? How did they do this to me?” Was it something in the sequence of events? Was it in the shapes or colors, words or music, symbols or associations? Was it facial expressions, vocal intonations, or a combination of several of these at once?

Keep in mind that visual techniques and gestural techniques can be easily adapted to radio. This is a huge blind spot in the minds of radio professionals. Experiment with what you learn. The techniques that worked on you will work for you, as well.

Communication is usually auditory, graphic, or gestural.

These are its primary elements:


  1. Words, and the phonemes that compose them
  2. Music: pitch, key, contour, interval, tempo, rhythm, texture, and harmony
  3. Sounds: jets landing, babies crying, dogs barking, crickets chirping, etc.


  1. Color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, proximity, and radiance
  2. Image — what is being shown, and what associations does it trigger?
  3. Metaphor — what does it mean?


  1. Facial expression
  2. Symbolic gestures and movements
  3. Dancing

Simultaneous elements of communication can reinforce or contradict each other.

Perception is deepened when elements reinforce one another and agree.

Interest is elevated when an element contradicts and disagrees: “An apple tree is ready for harvest, all its apples a husky shade of red except for one — just beyond your reach — that shimmers electric blue.”

You’ll wonder about that apple all day.

Predictability is the silent assassin of surprise and delight.

Defeat it by modifying expected patterns of communication.

Enter new subjects from usual angles of approach.

Communicate details. Specifics are more credible than generalities. The more specifically you speak to a single person, the more powerfully you speak to everyone.

We love to be in the presence of powerful communicators who take us places and make us feel things: actors and filmmakers, dancers and photographers, sculptors and illustrators, singers and architects, teachers and musicians, painters and writers.

When brilliant communicators work their magic, we get lost in it.

Would you like to become one?

You already own the hardware.

Have you ever used a zoom lens? Think of your brain as having one. As you zoom in, you exclude the context to focus on the tiniest details. But when you zoom out, you see those details fold in on themselves to reveal the ever-expanding

context of “the big picture.” The idea that captivated your zoomed-in attention is now just a tiny cog in a complex machine.

The key to keeping your reader/viewer/listener off-balance is to zoom in after zooming out, and zoom out after zooming in. Take them on a journey with you. Make them think they’re going to see one thing, then show them something different. Unexpected elements make stories and photographs and paintings and music and everything else more interesting.

I agree with Leo Burnett: The great danger of advertising isn’t that we will mislead people, but that we will bore them to death.

Please don’t.

Monica Kessler is the daughter of Richard Kessler. This copyrighted :60 is currently airing for their very successful company in four markets. You do not have permission to use any part of it. Don’t steal it. Learn from it.

KESS: Back when I was a little boy, Elias Gabriel was a famous jewelry designer in a faraway place called New York City. I never dreamed I would someday travel to New York. I never dreamed I would someday sell his jewelry.

MONICA: Elias Gabriel had two sons who apprenticed under their father, the same way I’m apprenticing under my father today.

KESS: Jack and Dominick Gabriel grew up with a burning vision set aflame by what they saw their father do each day.

MONICA: When they grew up, they launched Gabriel and Company.

KESS: The burning vision set aflame by their father can be seen in the startling styles of their stunning engagement rings.

MONICA: The Gabriel brothers recently took their exotic new designs to all the world’s most forward-thinking jewelers.

KESS: And when they came to Milwaukee [Appleton, Madison, Grand Rapids] … they came directly to Kesslers.

MONICA: The Gabriel Collection has utterly captivated the world of fashion.

KESS: Gabriel engagement rings are so beautiful they’ll make you dizzy.

MONICA: Gabriel captures the romance and the mystery…

KESS: …the wonder and the charm,

MONICA: …the music and magic of love.

KESS: Come to Kesslers.

MONICA: Take a look.

KESS: Get dizzy.


Take your listeners to a place they never expected to go. Give them a feeling they didn’t expect to feel. Deliver an experience they didn’t see coming.

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc.


  1. “You do not have permission to use any part of it. Don’t steal it.”

    Don’t worry Roy, something that has ZERO value isn’t worth stealing.


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