Wordless Persuasion

Wordless Persuasion


When we send a message to receivers, whether in a conversation or in an ad, we make an implied promise to the audience that they will want to receive that message.  Many ads fail to live up to this implied promise and end up irritating viewers.  This MacBook Air ad, on the other hand, is a pleasure to receive.

A second rule of good conversations and of good ads is that everything that receivers can and will fill in on their own, should be left out.  If a host at a party offers you a drink and you say you are driving, no further explanation is needed.  In fact, further explanation would insult your host suggesting that you don’t think your host is smart enough to get the connection.  Similarly, in this ad, Apple doesn’t need to explain what viewers are experiencing and why.  Viewers get it and appreciate the fact that Apple knows they get it.  The super, “The notebook people love.” was probably unnecessary.

Communicators, as far back as the ancient Greeks, knew that the form of a message was more important than its literal content.  Viewers get much more information about the brand and its users by how a message is put together than by what the message literally says.  Viewers draw inference from the style, pacing, sound, and images.  Thanks to this ad, viewers infer “fun, confident, creative, and cool,” when they would never believe that literal claim.

The ad is a marvelously persuasive message that succeeds almost without words.

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