One of the most important aspects of a campaign, in my opinion, is the second ‘C’ in SUCCESs: credible. Think about it for a minute. If we didn’t think something was credible, would we give a second thought to it? Absolutely not. The Heath brothers pointed out this same concept in Made to Stick.
The brothers also pointed out that there are several ways to build and show your credibility and make sticky messages in a PR campaign. One of most obvious ways is by using statistics. Of course, statistics standing alone does not make a sticky message because no one can rattle off statistics from commercials. The relationship of the numbers is actually most important. By making the numbers and statistics lead a campaign and the opinions, it’s more effective than searching for statistics that match what you are seeking.
Another way to show credibility is by using an anti-authority. The brothers explained this difficult concept by using the example of a smoker being the spokesperson of an anti-smoking campaign. Anti-authorities have credibility because they have gone through the situation themselves. Any advertisement that is using the “not an actor” angle is showing the audience their “credible card.”
My favorite concept the Heath brothers brought up was the example of “Where’s the Beef?” from the Wendy’s commercials in the 80s, which happens to be on a shirt my dad owns that I never understood until now. My dad owning this shirt actually shows just how sticky this messaging was. It’s been over 30 years and the message is still there, reluctantly hanging in his closet. That’s because the credentials were actually testable and came from the consumers. By asking “Where’s the beef?” Wendy’s was able shine light on the fact that their burgers were thicker than other fast food chains burgers.
Like Wendy’s commercials from nearly 40 years ago, some campaigns are particularly good with showing credibility and, therefore, making sticky messages. For instance, this campaign video to reelect the Travis County Commissioner shows the politician, Gerald, rattling off numbers and statistics throughout the entire video. He not only hits the nail on the head for being statistically credible, he also has internal credibility and extensive details about his knowledge from being in office already.
On top of that, the campaign shows concrete evidence in his descriptions of his job as the County Commissioner. It also really works the unexpected (and hilarious) angle of the his wife pleading to keep her husband in the office and busy.