Beyond the Jump Scare

branding, campaigns

You’re watching a horror film. The scene is dark and quiet. Maybe a little too quiet. Our hero is scared, braced, but not ready. You’re right there with her. You focus on each tiny sound — every breath. You can feel her hesitation, her fear.

Then BOOM. The creature lights up the screen. It clutches and claws. Our hero jumps. She screams. You jump too. You laugh. The filmmaker got us.

The jump scare is an easy win.

It’s the reliable trick that the filmmaker gets to pull once, maybe twice, maybe even three times in a film. Start pulling it all the time, however, and the audience will roll their eyes instead of jumping out of their seats. Why? Because it feels like a trick. It’s great fun, sure, but we all know the game they’re playing, and we quickly grow tired of being tricked.

Every brand has a few opportunities for jump scares — big, loud campaigns that make everybody look, sit up straight and pay attention. They’re great when used well, but be careful that they’re not the only tool at your disposal.

Once we have our audience’s attention, what are we going to do with it? When someone comes to our brand wanting more, what do we have to offer them?

We’re all in the earning customers for life business. Jump scares can get them here. Then we have an opportunity to make them stay.

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