“When I snap my fingers, half your email list will unsubscribe.”
— Thanos … did not actually say this
I’m not sure if you watched Avengers: Endgame?
You probably did. Anyway. Oh MAN! I remember watching it. One of the best movies I have ever seen.
I sat there with my popcorn, super stoked.
(I was less stoked about the fact that I was also there with my youngest brother and his then-girlfriend, so I had to spend the whole movie checking they weren’t doing any gross awkward secret kissing when they thought I wasn’t looking, but that is not an image that any of us need right now.)
And yes, the film was epic.
But you want to know my favourite part?
It wasn’t the amazing battle scene.
In fact, it’s a part that I doubt anyone thinks of, or even remembers.
It wasn’t any big fight or super-funny one-liner.
And even though the setup for this moment technically took over a year …
The payoff itself only lasted three seconds.
Yet those three seconds set up the entire film to be TWICE as impactful.
What was it?
Well, first you have to remember what happened before the movie came out:
Marvel spent a year lying to their fans.
Well, misleading them.
Nobody knew it — but all the trailers for Endgame only included scenes from the first 10 minutes of the film.
YouTubers geeked out with analysis videos, looking at every easter egg and predicting how the film would go.
And the end result was just as Marvel wanted it.
Almost everyone walked into that theatre thinking they knew how that movie was going to go:
The Avengers would gather a team … get on a spaceship … go on a journey to find Thanos … steal the Infinity Gauntlet … and after an epic battle, snap back half the universe into existence.
And, they were right …
… for 10 minutes.
The film starts as you’d expect.
The Avengers do get on a spaceship and go to visit Thanos.
It all happens so fast that you start to feel uncomfortable — it’s not meant to be this easy …
And then you see why:
To everyone’s shock … the mission fails.
And then, it happens.
The next scene implies a time skip, with a blank screen with one word:
Five hours later?
Five days later?
Marvel knows how to tell a story. The suspense here is extreme.
And so they linger on this screen for a few seconds, without revealing the time skip. (Remember, this is one of the rules of good storytelling.)
And then, they complete the sentence:
“ … YEARS LATER”
NOBODY could have seen that coming.
That moment is one of the greatest abuses of the viewer’s expectations that I know of in cinematic history.
It takes literally months’ worth of preconceptions … and destroys them in seconds.
I remember the feeling when I saw those words:
A sense of utter despair and aimlessness …
… and delight.
Because as I sat there, I thought: “Well … now I have NO idea where this is going to go”.
This is masterful storytelling.
And it’s something you should aim to do in all your copy, too:
You can’t afford to let the reader think they know where this is going. You cannot bore someone into buying.
The best sales copy shocks, delights and surprises — all at once.
Do it right, and people will actually read your sales pitch start-to-finish.
And if you’d like my help creating sales copy that does that …
Be warned, though: that link forces you to apply via a waitlist.
Because not to be a jerk, but I do have plenty of other client work that books me out, so I probably won’t be able to get to your job until many …
… weeks later.