Advertisements are a creative sneak peek at what customers can experience when they buy your services. That's why mass personalization is essential. You want as many customers to relate to your ads as possible.
But what separates the best ads from mediocre advertisements is the use of "reality hooks." These attention-grabbing narratives connect the ads' abstract perceptual reality to objective reality.
A reality hook differentiates between "real ads" and purely fantastical anti-realist advertisements.
Reality hooks are an invaluable tool for ad writers, helping them craft compelling and engaging ads that connect with real-world audiences. These statements or concepts ground the abstract ideas introduced in your advertisements to real-life experiences. As a result, ads become more relatable and personally relevant to potential customers.
Make your ads more appealing to customers by incorporating some reality hooks.
The question is: what exactly are reality hooks, and how do they work?
Here, we’ll explore reality hooks, real ads, and four unique ways to infuse reality hooks in your advertising. Keep reading.
The Realist Narrative in Advertising
Before anything else, let me clarify something.
When I talk about real ads, I refer to advertisements that utilize reality hooks or follow realist narratives.
The realist narrative in advertising is the idea that ads are grounded in real-world experiences. In other words, they introduce a real-life feeling or portray a scenario that could occur in real life.
While advertisements are imaginative works of art, realist narratives bring ads to life as audiences may personally relate to them.
Using reality hooks is one way to incorporate this approach into your marketing strategies and advertising endeavors. Reality hooks connect the world of abstract imagination to concrete facts. For example, social proof and testimonials are reality hooks that make commercials more realistic and relatable to viewers.
Look at Health Service Executive's "I wish I were an actor" quit-smoking campaign. The 30-second ad follows the real life of Gerry Collins, an actual lung cancer-diagnosed patient due to smoking. As Gerry talks about death looming over smokers, we get a glimpse of the reality that smokers face everyday.
That's what real ads are — advertisements that utilize reality to hook you with abstract ideas.
Meanwhile, the opposites of real ads are fantastical advertisements that follow anti-realist narratives. Unlike the former, outlandish ads are often hyperbolic and create silly or improbable expectations for their target audience. Most of the time, anti-realist ads focus on providing the following:
- Comedic relief
- Unrealistic expectations
- Absurd presentations
One example of an anti-realist narrative commercial is Skittles' "Touch the Rainbow" campaign. A disturbed man named Tim is cursed with the Midas touch, wherein everything he touches turns into Skittles. That context, in itself, already screams unrealistic, but the entertainment value overshadows this aspect.
Despite their difference, both fantastical and real ads effectively get viewers' attention in their rights. However, real ads are more impactful as they resonate and emotionally connect with your target audience.
If you're looking for ad experts who can bring sprinkle reality hooks into your advertisements, look no further. Wizard of Ads™ is every residential home service business’s dream when crafting real ads that convert. We can do the same for you.
Book a call with Ryan Chute from Wizard of Ads™ to learn more.
The Real Life of Leonardo da Vinci
Let's explore reality hooks better by revisiting one of the world's greatest polymaths of all time — Leonardo da Vinci. In his Monday Morning Memo, Roy Williams did a great job explaining how da Vinci's life ties into reality hooks.
Here’s a quick test: try to Google Leonardo da Vinci. I’m certain that search engines will describe him as many different things.
Being a renowned painter, sculptor, musician, engineer, architect, inventor, cartographer, and writer are only some of his greatest feats. Looking at his track record, we realize that Leonardo da Vinci is an unrealistically talented person and a larger-than-life idea.
"Is achieving these sorts of feats even normal for a human mortal?" one might even ask.
However, everything changes when you visit or see a photograph of his place of death in Château du Clos Lucé. You realize that, like everyone else, da Vinci is just a man.
This realization grounds your originally grandiose perception of Leonardo da Vinci. He is no longer the god among men but becomes an actual human being that lives, ages, and dies.
Reality hooks used in real ads follow that same pattern.
Advertisements often promise people many great superficial things that seem unbelievable. Reality hooks make those promises and claims more realistic. Like realizing da Vinci is simply another human being, reality hooks make ads more relatable and appealing to human nature
Think of commercials as presentations of our abstract and creative imagination. Reality hooks are the points of contact that link that abstract world to the concrete fact.
These points of contact matter very much in creating real ads.
Allow me to explain.
Look at every popular collector of historical artifacts, archaeological fossils, and classical paintings. They seem odd in our eyes, but we can never question their passion.
You can get a Mona Lisa replica for several dollars, but it has no value compared to the actual painting. The reason is simple: Leonardo da Vinci personally painted, touched, handled and carried the Mona Lisa painting. In other words, he has a real point of contact with the piece of art compared to replicas.
This point of contact is what gives the art value. Similarly, the point of contact that links abstract advertisements to reality is what makes ads compelling and persuasive.
"An original work of art gives you a point of contact with the artist. A historical artifact gives you a point of contact with a specific moment in time. Understand this, and you understand the heart of every collector."— Roy H. Williams
A “Reality Hook”
Some ads and commercials live rent-free in our subconscious. They may be too entertaining and funny that we can't scratch them off our thoughts. Other ads, however, had a touch of realism that appealed to our humanity, and they evoked an emotional connection.
That's the power of reality hooks. Stories and descriptions become much more believable when you provide realistic and relatable context.
More often than not, reality hooks found in real ads make them more compelling, engaging, persuasive, and influential. They draw viewers by creating a sense of emotional connection and authenticity. By tugging the right emotional triggers, you elicit desirable responses and nudge prospects into taking your intended action.
Whether highlighting real-world testimonials, relatable scenarios, or other relevant experiences, reality hooks are essential for real ads. To create compelling ads that resonate with your audience, the secret is incorporating reality hooks into your messaging.
Below, we'll explore four unique ways to create reality hooks in your advertisements.
4 Ways to Create Reality Hooks
Creating effective ads goes beyond paying close attention to your customer's unique preferences and needs. You must also connect emotionally with your audience and persuade them to take action through a creative presentation. Incorporating reality hooks help create compelling and believable ads that resonate with your target audience.
If you're looking to craft real ads that connect with your market, consider incorporating these four strategies:
Connect to your customer's real-life experience
Every customer is different, as in they have their unique preferences and needs. It's unlikely you sell a one-size-fits-all solution that fits everyone’s needs perfectly. That is precisely the reason why businesses create buyer personas. This enables them to sell solutions and create ads focusing on the underlying felt needs of individualized personas.
The ideal buyer persona is the archetype of customers you are trying to reach. You created this persona by using various relevant information pooled together, including:
- The real-life experiences of your target market
- Their pain points (or primary sources of fears, shame, and guilt)
- Their pleasure points (or desire for identity, purpose, and adventure)
- Their value proposition equation (money, energy, and time)
- Their underlying felt needs of surviving or thriving.
All of the information above influences your average customer's buying decisions. The only difference is that each element's degree of importance varies from one customer to another. Incorporating them in your advertisement increases the likelihood of emotionally connecting to your target market.
For example, homeowners with faulty heating systems have experienced days of being heavily wrapped in sheets to survive the winter. This is a real-life experience and pain point that homeowners face.
Infusing your ads with this information allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level. More importantly, it gives you more leverage to offer real solutions to their real problems.
The secret is highlighting the common experiences of customers within your market and then introducing your solutions. You can execute this in one of two ways:
- Your solutions are the saving grace that takes customer pain points away
- Your solutions are the bridge to realizing customers’ innermost pleasure points
Make use of highly vivid descriptors
Do you know why oftentimes readers hate film adaptations of books?
Movies often fail to capture the real essence of what was originally written. Despite the technological advancements in CGI and other cinematic editing software, films still comparatively fall short. A valid argument, but not precisely correct.
The real reason is that movies kill our imagination. Films serve the cinematic experience on a silver platter, leaving no room for people to create their own interpretations.
Our human brain is highly imaginative and playful. You need to stimulate the part of the brain that imagines in order to capture its full attention. Using specific and highly vivid descriptors helps in this regard.
With the rise of digital and online marketing, it can be easy to overlook the importance of imagination in ads. However, failing to tap into your audience's imagination limits the potential of ads to connect with customers emotionally.
By using vivid and evocative language, advertisers can conjure up mental images in the minds of their audience. Real ads use words and phrases that appeal directly to our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. This helps people form clear pictures in their minds, making the essence of your message clearer and better understood.
Include details that add credibility
Credibility is essential for any successful ad campaign. Without credibility, it can be difficult for customers to trust your brand's claims and promises.
To build credibility, it is important to incorporate details that customers can independently confirm. These bits lend credibility to areas in your ads that are difficult to verify.
For example, testimonials are one effective way to add credibility to your advertisements.
Real-life accounts from customers and clients help validate the claims made by your brand. They give potential buyers greater confidence in your product or service. Moreover, when buyers seek real-life feedback, they can serve as social proof, further building legitimacy.
To ensure that testimonials are credible and impactful, choose real customers who have actual experience with your company. They have more to say about your brand and will be more believable than paid actors or influencers.
You may also incorporate real data into your ads and support your claims with expert opinions or reputable research studies. This will help build trust with your audience and improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Credibility and legitimacy is one primary element that separates real ads from comedic, fantastical ads. Only by ensuring that your ads feel authentic to listeners will they trust your brand and consider your solutions.
Of course, ads have limited power in pushing buyers to purchase your solution. Often, prospects will visit your website and other platforms to do more research and continue the conversation.
With that in mind, make sure to include real reviews on your website and social media platforms. Additionally, maintain a consistent and authentic voice throughout your business touchpoints. Doing so will further build your image as a credible and trustworthy service provider.
"People are quick to believe things that seem correct, even when those things are not true."— Roy H. Williams
The last thing you want is to deceive customers with your advertising. Saying plain wrong things and outright lies is sure to flush your entire operations down the drain.
As advertisers, it is crucial to use logic and reason to justify your claims about your products or services. Ensuring that your real ads are logical, you strike a chord in your customers' innate desire for accuracy and truth.
Common logical tactics such as confirmation bias and argument from authority are effective ways to spruce up your real ads. However, caution is required when using these persuasive techniques, as the wrong approach may undermine your credibility.
For instance, one way to use the argument from authority is by using influencer marketing. Popular personalities boost the relevance and credibility of your ads. However, hiring the wrong influencer can damage your reputation more than it helps.
One example I vividly recall is a tools company hiring a chic and glamorous teenage actress as their brand ambassador. No person would look at the ad and say, "this child actress uses these pliers, so I'll buy them too." In other words, it doesn't make any sense.
Your ads should be logical if you want them to follow a realist narrative. Otherwise, sensible customers will see through your deception and distrust your brand.
To create effective ads that truly engage your audience, always use logical sense as your guiding principle. With well-crafted arguments, you can create real ads that accurately explain why your product is the best choice around.
The Handy Tool for an Ad Writer
"Reality hooks are the hammer, screwdriver, pliers and duct tape of an ad writer. You can use them to fix practically anything." — Roy H. Williams
Sometimes, a dose of reality is all it takes to make your ads persuasive, compelling, believable and influential. Instead of remaining abstract ideas, using reality hooks connects the conceptual realm to real-world experiences, feelings, or beliefs.
Whether telling people about your solution's advantages or inspiring them to take action, real ads feel genuine, authentic, and direct.
Of course, that's not to say real ads are better than fantastical and purely comedic ads. Both can be powerful tools in their respective rights. The greater knowledge is knowing which of the two is more effective in your ad campaign.
That's where Wizard of Ads™ comes in.
We can help you strategize an ad campaign consistent with your brand voice and speaks directly to your target market. Moreover, we can craft the killer ads you need to put your business at the forefront of your audience's minds. Book a call.