By Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
An ABBA reunion was always going to make headlines – but master marketers Benny and Bjorn spun the story as a masterclass in strategic messaging. They didn’t just dominate world news, they owned it.
In the process they showcased some great techniques you can use in your next interview.
There’s a whole marketing textbook in the way the band played the social media game, but I’m more interested in the lyrical techniques they used – both the words they chose and the way they delivered them – to spin this announcement and generate ticket sales.
You can watch the whole interview here, and listen to the single, I Still Have Faith in You, but analysing the interview, three things jumped out at me:
One message to rule them all: Build your message house
The entire interview is focused on one overarching strategic aim: To drive ticket sales for the album and concert. Every anecdote, every fact, every image is curated to achieve that aim. The overarching aim is supported with three key messages, each given about 90 seconds, creating a powerful inductive argument in a tight four-minute package. Recreating the message house and interview plan would look a bit like this:
Aim: You must buy the album and come to the concert (why?)
Choose words to paint pictures (and match them to the images)
The mind thinks in pictures, choosing the right words paints those pictures. I love the language they chose for this story – only one negative in four minutes. Let's look at the key phrases for each of the key messages:
ABBA is a nostalgia experience, and the language in Benny and Bjorn’s cameo is perfect: “It’s inconceivable to be where we are … still be the best of friends … still be enjoying each other’s company and have total loyalty”.
There’s the ‘authenticity message’ from producer Ludvig Andersson: “Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn got on a stage … and performed every song to perfection … capturing every mannerism, every emotion … the soul of their beings … that’s the great magic … it’s actually them”.
And the ‘technically stunning’ message from producer Svana Gisla “…the challenge is to make digital ABBA come into the physical world and for the boundaries between those two worlds to disappear … (we) cracked that code … it’s a unique space to be in, neither digital nor physical”.
Override logic with emotion
The twin forces of logic and emotion play out in everything we say. This interview has the perfect balance: Logically, spending hundreds of dollars to see a digital light show with a few old recordings of ABBA hits is madness when you can get it on YouTube for free. But after watching it I was ready to fly to London for the concert. Why? There are lashings of facts but they speak straight to our hearts.
Remember, Mamma Mia the Musical grossed over $4 billion and is the world’s third highest grossing musical behind The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera. And the films took another $1 billion. That’s the payoff for selling the sizzle not the sausage.
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