I came across two interesting stories that I want to share.

First, it’s about a copywriter named Lillian Eichler who worked for an ad agency Ruthrauff & Ryan. Her job was to sell a thousand copies of Encyclopedia of Etiquette.

Rather than just pitching a sell, she told a funny story about how a girl kept ordering chicken salad because she didn’t know how to pronounce any of the French items on the menu … or how to use all of the utensils or how to be graceful in a dinner environment and etc.

Eichler used a story to instill a bit of fear. Rather than being graceful and poised, the protagonist was awkward and unfamiliar. As a result, Eichler sold over $1MM of this book, which is still available on Amazon today.

again she orders a chicken salad please

Click the image above or here for the full story / advertisement.

Two Young Men Ad

Martin Francis Conroy wrote an ad for the Wall Street Journal that ran successfully for 28 years and brought the company over $1 billion in subscriptions.

Dear Reader:

On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently, these two men returned to college for their 25th reunion.

They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.

But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.

What Made The Difference

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what makes this kind of difference in people’s lives? It isn’t always a native intelligence or talent or dedication. It isn’t that one person wants success and the other doesn’t.

The difference lies in what each person knows and how he or she makes use of that knowledge.

And that is why I am writing to you and to people like you about The Wall Street Journal. For that is the whole purpose of The Journal: To give its readers knowledge – knowledge that they can use in business…

Similar to the girl who keeps ordering chicken salad out of fear of mispronouncing entrees or misuse of utensils, this WSJ advertisement plays on fear of missing out on certain business knowledge another person might acquire.

Click here for the full story / advertisement.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

The aforementioned stories are simple illustrations of how stories sell when combined with the right emotional triggers.

Emotions represent the most basic element of our decision-making. Sometimes, emotions become so strong that they overpower logic. Jealousy, for example, might motivate a guy to punch another guy in the face — even though he’s bigger and stronger.

Doh! Doesn’t take long to learn that lesson.

— Chapter 3 // Section: Emotional Triggers // Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers

As an example for my wedding photography readers, “It takes a lifetime to find your soulmate and a split-second to miss it all.” Sense the mild fear?


For more content strategy posts, read here.


Lawrence Chan

P.S. I love colors!

A colorful note from Alicia Haskew – “Pumped! Prepped! Thanks @tofurious! You genius little man, you!”