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Lessons in good copy from Deadpool (and others)

Ever heard the term “breaking the fourth wall”?

It’s a film and theatre technique used to create deeper emotions and connections.

The 4th wall is literally the scene you and I are watching. The other 3 walls are the stage walls.

Characters in the story are usually not aware of us and of the reality outside their world. Except, when you break that 4th wall.

That’s when you see characters looking straight into the camera and talking to us viewers. Doing so can create trust, be funny, or lead us into a character’s psyche.

You can see it in action in TV shows like House of cards, Dexter, or movies like Deadpool.

And guess what, you can do it (in a way) with copywriting, too.

It’s great to counter objections and set expectations.

How do you do it?

Finishing sentences with an “even if” for example.

Or using the “XYZ, done right” format.

Another one is “like XYZ, but for ABC”.

In all these cases you see how you get a bit outside the “marketing/copy” side of things and step into the readers’ perception of reality.

It’s like you’re telling them: “I know you are aware of it and this is how we use/are different from/deal with it”.

You acknowledge certain limitations and inject uniqueness and improvements into it.

I found 3 tips they give you so you know when it’s time to break the fourth wall. I think they apply to copy too.

  • Be extreme: This means you need to break the fourth wall all the time, or very rarely.
  • Be thoughtful: Consider opportune scenes and moments within the scene for wall breaks.
  • Be controversial: Don’t waste your big decision with an underwhelming 4th wall break.”

In the end, it’s all about knowing what voice you want your brand to have.

But when you know it and you break the fourth wall effectively, you can build trust like no one in your industry.

Remember, your audience sees through the BS.

When you address it before they even have a chance to think of it, they will trust you.

Need help finding your brand’s voice and using it in your copy?

Get in touch.

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