Great Character #1 – To Life, Love and Loot!

As the title of the blog post hints at, despite not being much of a drinker, Captain Morgan holds a special place in my heart.  Why do you ask?  The commercials!

I know, I know, commercials are stupid!  They get in the way of the show/movie we’re trying to watch, and they do nothing but give our fast forward button something to do right?  Right!  Err… well, except in a few rare cases.

And I’m here to tell you people, Captain Morgan commercials are one of those few exceptions.

They are great hooks for not only the product, but the whole brand in general.

First of all, I was always a sucker for the roguish beats they choose to play in the background.  But my appreciation for these commercials goes beyond that.

Please, if you will indulge me, watch this commercial:

What’s the first thing you notice about this commercial?

For me, the answer was simply.  For practically the entire 60-second scene, no one spoke except the narrator in the last few seconds to throw in their slogan which I so graciously borrowed for the title of this blog. (please don’t sue me!)

This is a common trait of Captain Morgan commercials, because instead of using the usual commercial type dialogue and narration, they’re using something much more powerful.

They’re leaving the selling points up to you really.

Usually, commercials try and tell you what to think about their product in one way or another:

  • Look how happy these people are!
  • See how beautiful everything is when you use ___!

While it can be effective, eventually we get desensitized to it, and we simply don’t want to hear it anymore.

It gets tuned out.

Captain Morgan on the other hand does it in the best way possible.

They present you with a very entertaining character, give you just enough information so that you can follow the basic plot of what you’re seeing, and they’re letting you draw all of the conclusions from there on.

If you want to love the rakish Captain Morgan, you will.

If you want to hate the scallywag, then you will.

What they don’t do is try and force your mind into a box.

This is effective in two ways:

  1. It’s sure to draw people who are a fan of that character type, and transfer their interest in, for example, pirates to spiced rum.  (Not a huge jump if you ask me)
  2. Whoever doesn’t like the way Captain Morgan is portrayed, probably isn’t interested in the spiced rum and the good times they fuel that they’re really trying to sell.

This is what you need to do with your plots and characters people!

Give them just enough information so that they understand who they’re reading about, and what kind of story/character they’re dealing with and they’ll fill in the rest for you!

Now, I’m not saying this is an excuse to skimp on effort or to take the lazy road to your creative works.

I simply want to illustrate that there’s no possible way you can satisfy every reader who will pick up your book.  It’s much better if you construct your stories and characters in such a way that the people who like or love it will enjoy it that much more.

As for the ones who don’t, you can’t exactly lose a readership you don’t have.

So what about you guys?  Any commercials/tv shows/movies/whatever, you think hooks in the audience in a similar way?

Please, let me know in the comments below.


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Thanks to: Ines Hegedus-Garcia for the featured photo.

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