What Bridgerton Teaches Us About Advertising, Copywriting, Sales and Marketing.
I saw the first 3 episodes of Bridgerton about a week ago and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So much so that I binged the remaining episodes early on a Sunday morning.
Lots of series don’t manage to hold my attention, so I’m guessing it’s because I saw a kindred spirit in the Duke of Hastings, but I’m more inclined to believe it was because of Lady Whistledown.
You see, Lady Whistledown on Bridgerton is an excellent example of how propaganda works. It’s also an example of how great copywriting, marketing and advertising should be like. And here’s why:
If you’ve seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, then you’ve certainly heard about the AIDA formula in sales and marketing.
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, and it’s an acronym developed in 1898 by advertising pioneer E. St. Elmo Lewis which describes the steps a prospective customer goes through before deciding to buy a product, brand or service – from the very first moment they become aware of that product, service or brand to the actual moment they buy it.
1. Attention (grab attention)
The first stage of the sales process is making your prospective costumer aware of the product.
In a small town where everybody knows everybody, gossip is always plenty. But the balls needed to condense all of that gossip, and take shots at everyone (royalty included) the way Lady Whistledown does it is nothing short of incredible.
The members of the community are shocked. Viewers are shocked. Attention is grabbed.
Round 1: Lady Whistledown wins.
2. Interest (hold interest)
There’s a part of the Bible which says something like “Blessed is a man who finds favour in the eyes of the king,” and as just as expected everyone on Bridgerton tries so hard to win the favour of Queen and King or anyone associated with them.
Well, in reverse Lady Whistledown manages to make everyone try so hard to win her favour.
She holds the interest of an entire community so much so that everyone is scared of getting on her bad side.
The women are scared of ruin. Families are scared of scandals. Everyone wants to please her.
She even manages to take the spotlight off the Queen. Genius stuff!
But that’s not where it even stops.
The show creators even manage to turn a story about the marriage trials of members of a family into a more layered story with multiple nodes courtesy of Whistledown’s scandal mill.
And just as the townspeople, we are all steady waiting for the next edition of Lady Whistledown’s papers.
Round 2: Lady Whistledown wins again.
3. Desire (create desire)
The first law of desires states that “desire can neither be created nor destroyed, but can change from one form to another.“
Just like the Bible passage where Jesus says what corrupts a man doesn’t come from the outside, but from the inside, desires are not really created, just harnessed.
Take for example, a woman who cheats on her husband.
She might not necessarily wake up one morning and announce she wants to cheat on her husband.
Instead, she might have been lonely, bored, neglected or sex-starved for some time.
Or she might have just been wondering what a strange prick would feel like. A typical tale of guilty pleasures and repressed desires.
As an excellent student of psychology Lady Whistledown understood this.
People have always desired new things, which is what events and gossip provides in ample amount.
People (even the bad ones) also desire to be seen in good standing by their neighbours.
It was simply a case of gasoline and a lit match.
Round 3: Lady Whistledown again.
4. Action (make your prospect take action)
Lady Whistledown knew she needed two things: Fame & Her subscribers’ monies.
Isn’t that what we all want? 😁
But first, she needed to tap into their desires and get them to take action. To do this, she had to give them what they wanted to be able to get what she wanted.
In this instance, give them the hottest, juiciest gossip and take all their money in return. A case of quid pro quo.
This is a formula that never fails to work. Give your customers what they want and they’ll make you infinitely rich.
PS: I’ve also been thinking but what if Lady Whistledown was a man?
Ask yourself this: Would the town have taken those papers seriously if it was from a Mr. Whistledown? Of course not.
And why so?
Because from time immemorial, gossip and tittle-tattle has always been associated with women. No offence. Men seen as gossips and rumour mongers are rarely taken seriously, whether by fellow men or even women.
This is why it’s important to understand your audience thoroughly. Know what moves their pulse and what makes their heart race and you’ll be certain to take all their money.
PPS: If you are new to copywriting/advertising/sales/marketing, you should see Glengarry Glen Ross.