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Thursday, Jul. 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Pringles use of Story Appeal

By Jeff Sexton
July 9th, 2009

Pringle AdIf you haven’t heard yet, Pringles has received some rather high praise for a humorous and clickable banner ad.  But if you look past the fun-to-click aspect of the ad, you’ll find that the actual invitation to click the ad is rather subtle.

Nothing in the ad itself looks “clickable” – no colored and underlined text, no 3-d lighting effects or button-ish looking objects, etc.

Just a small word bubble from the Pringles guy saying “click.”  And if you scroll over the ad, the bubble grows slightly bigger.  That’s it.  Doesn’t seem like a whole lot to bank on, when the ad really won’t “work” if it’s not clicked on, does it?

But what draws your eye over for that second look is the story appeal of the picture itself.  The guy is clearly proposing and the girl looks… well, apart from her facial expression, she’s got a freakin’ pringles tube on her arm!  What the heck is that all about?

And that’s just it isn’t it?  The picture almost forces you to imagine a scenario which would explain the guy proposing while his fiancee-to-be is greedily grasping at the very last of the Pringles.  Hmmm…

Adding to the effect is the woman’s somewhat ambiguous facial expression.  For the most part it looks as if she’s thrilled and totally blown away by the gesture, but it’s ambiguous enough to cause a bit of nervousness (or sympathy for the poor guy).  I mean, the gal’s not even looking at him. Maybe she’s also wondering who the heck proposes while you’re eating chips?

And all of these story appeal elements allow the subtle “click” invitation to work it’s magic.  Please Mr. Pringles guy, tell me what the heck is going on here, would ya? CLICK.

Ahhh the power of (cheesy) story appeal.

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Comments (22)

  1. Haha. Clever indeed. Wonder how many people made it to the very end. It’s almost impossible to deny the appeal of this ad straight from the get-go. Definitely worth a click-through.

  2. I think it’s “complicated” because accepting the ring would require her to take her hand out of the Pringles container, and she’s just not sure which/who she loves more: the boyfriend, or…those DE-ricious chips! Decisions, decisions.
    I’d click on the ad just to see what other funny stuff they had on their website!

  3. [...] Pringles use of Story Appeal…   Conversion Rate Marketing [...]

  4. Very Very intelligent Ad I must say,You know Jeff I generally dont like ads.I dont give a second look to any of the ads.But this the ads tells
    a story and makes you think what really is going on.I bet 90 out of 100 people will click on such ads.

  5. What a very strange as indeed, Intersting idea though!

  6. That is actually really clever. I just tried and it and went though at least 30 clicks before I got the hint. Still pretty great outside the box thinking.

  7. To me it looks like something from The Sims 3 :-)

  8. I saw this and loved it. I didn’t finish the clicking process because it was taking forever, but I easily clicked at least 30 times. Great concept!

  9. You know the funny part is, i didn’t even notice the pringles can on her arm until i read it. cheesy story line is right.

  10. I didn’t notice the can either.

  11. After studying the ad for a long time, I still could not figure out what the thing on her arm was… but perhaps the ad is bigger in it’s original.

    Either way, the ad is very clever and I love the analysis. I would go for the Pringles over the ring, given this guy’s lack of class ;)

  12. Los Angeles, Ken, and Jim,

    The thing is, sub-consciously you DO notice that something is off about the picture, and that causes a second look. Whether you consciously realize that the thing on her arm is a Pringles can isn’t all that relevant because the can on her arm still affects you emotionally. It’s actually very similar to movie symbolism. Audiences often react to the symbolism emotionally without ever becoming consciously aware of it. In fact, one prominent movie script-writing coach estimates that most symbols or subtleties are only intended to be consciously “caught” by about 20% of the audience.

    - Jeff

    - Jeff

  13. I always admire good job of copywriters…

  14. The next step would be to get it dynamic and applicable to the content you’re viewing that very moment, that would make it all the more surprising!

  15. my uncle is one of the people who created this ad! it is hilarious and so clever!

  16. [...] dealt with Story Appeal in previous posts, but let’s talk about headlines before diving into why Ogilvy’s favorite arrangement continues [...]

  17. [...] dealt with Story Appeal in previous posts, but let’s talk about headlines before diving into why Ogilvy’s favorite arrangement [...]

  18. It is thoughtful
    i like it
    and then it is high time get it dynamic.
    At that time it is gonna make everyone surprised.

  19. Never seen an ad like this, but they could have made a fortune of my clicks on this one ;-)

  20. Pringles use of Story Appeal Conversion Rate Marketing, but I do not like this way more ad formats.

  21. I didn’t notice the details of the ad until I read your article but I think that’s the point. The viewer sees the ad and knows it’s odd but doesn’t know why. The product stays fresh in head though and their goal is accomplished.

  22. I didn’t finish the clicking process because it was taking forever, but I easily clicked at least 30 times.

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Jeff is a Persuasion Architect, Web copywriter, blogger, and instructor of FutureNow's Persuasive Online Copywriting workshop. Follow Jeff Sexton on twitter

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