Sticky messages – those memorable sound bites, analogies or stories that resonate and “stick” in the mind of an audience – emerge one of two ways: as the result of hard work in message development sessions, or they can just happen organically. In the following case we’re not sure which applies (though we’ll guess organic), but the death on July 5 of the eccentric and eclectic American abstract artist Cy Twombly provided an example of how contrast and visual imagery can combine to form the “I have to use this quote” sticky message.
Pre-scripted or not, how better to describe a complex and influential but often overlooked figure of cultural importance than to use the image a cluttered home and the contrast between an art expert and a thief as a metaphor? Of course the producers at Morning Edition included that line in the obit.
At CommCore we often paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s line about obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” The same applies to a journalist – or any audience – when they are struck by a particularly visual sticky message that conveys far more than the words. Finding that perfect illustration is one of the greatest challenges for any good communicator.
What memorable sticky messages did you or a client develop? How did you come by it?