Why opposites attract in copywriting

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I love Google’s Parisian Love commercial.

It’s simple, charming and romantic.

The commercial opens up with a blank Google search bar on a computer screen. 

Then someone suddenly types in the words “study abroad paris france” into the search bar:

This ordinary Google search sparks a chain of searches, leading us on a journey. 

And we untie the knot to this journey, one Google search at a time:

  • “cafes near the louvre”
  • “how to impress a french girl”
  • “long distance relationship advice”
  • “jobs in paris”
  • “how to say ‘welcome home sweetheart’ in french”

The commercial finishes with one last search: “how to assemble a crib.”

And voila. That’s it. That’s the plot behind Google’s famous Parisian Love commercial.

The 52 second commercial tells a love story through a series of Google search queries. 

Nothing more, nothing less.

If you haven’t seen the ad already, press play on the video below to check it out. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a work of art:

There’s no impressive stats, no hard sell, no mention of the fact Google combs through 5.6 billion searches per day.

There’s nothing but a story that feels human and real.

The ad explores two key themes: technology and love

It contrasts the convenience of search engines with the complexity of human relationships to show how technology can play a part in life’s most meaningful moments.

The result? An ad that doesn’t feel like an ad. 

Now, of course, it’s easier for brands like Google to make these types of ads. 

They don’t really need to sell themselves too much. 

They have the power of brand awareness on their side. 

Everyone and their dogs know who Google are. So they can afford to create ads that don’t directly sell the benefits and features of their product.

But even if you’re not a multibillion dollar brand, you can still grab a helpful idea from this commercial. 

Just as Google’s Parisian Love bridges the gap between technology and love to show the search engine’s usefulness, writers often connect opposing ideas to make their messaging more impactful.

One technique we use to do this is called juxtaposition:

What is juxtaposition?

In other words, juxtaposition is about putting things together to show how different or interesting they are compared to each other:

  • Light and dark
  • Good and evil
  • Rich and poor
  • Old and new
  • Joy and sadness

Put these elements together and they accentuate one another. 

They say opposites attract. Well, maybe this is true in both love and writing.

Contrast burns your brand into the reader’s mind, as Harry Dry once said. Blend together contrasting concepts, words and imagery to create tension and make your message stand out more.

Let’s roll out some examples.

How to use juxtaposition in copywriting

1/ Highlight bad alternatives to your product

Conflict creates interest. Go against the status quo to show what makes your product better. 

Three steps:

Step one: Identify a bad alternative to your product or solution.

Step two: Point out the weaknesses of that bad alternative.

Step three: Contrast it with the benefits of your product.

Let’s practice this method using Webflow as an example:

Webflow is a web design and development platform that allows users to create, design, and host responsive websites without needing to write code. 

Press the tabs below to see how we could write copy for them using this method:

Let’s look at some examples of brands that do this well:

Example 1

One more for good luck:

Example 2

This example breaks the pattern a little. 

Rather than revealing the better alternative to traditional meditation practices, the writer uses mystery to build suspense with the “Do This Instead” hook.

You have to read the article to find out what “this” is. Smooth move, Hudson.

2/ Show that your product has range

Feast your eyes on the ad above.

9 words. 2 completely different target audiences.

New Balance juxtaposes the glamour of London supermodels with the ordinary image of dads from Ohio. 

And they do it to remind you that their 990 trainers are perfect for everyone.

Use juxtaposition to show your product’s versatility. 

That’s all, folks. That’s all he wrote.

Until next time, peace.

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