Catching bullets in advertising
Catching bullets fired at him made Chung Ling Soo famous.
On the night of March 23, 1918, a bullet penetrated his lung.
He died the next day.
Like his apparently superhuman ability, Chung himself was an illusion.
He was not—as he claimed to be—the orphaned, American-born son of a Scottish missionary and a Cantonese woman.
Chung was born William Ellsworth Robinson to Scottish parents in the State of New York.
An analogy can be drawn between Chung/Robinson’s world and that of advertising.
Both professions rely on skill and showmanship.
A lack of either can be a glaring shortcoming, which is rarely obvious to and/or acknowledged by the average practitioner.
But skill and showmanship are not enough by themselves.
Above all, you must understand human nature.
The audience was, is, and always will be 'selfish'.
No magician, marketer or advertising professional can afford to ignore this fact and hope or expect to bring down the house.
Trickery is a poor substitute for skill.
And grandstanding is not showmanship.
Fame is fleeting.
And pursuing it can precipitate a brand’s descent into obscurity, if not its death.
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My name is Benedict Paul. I've been writing copy (and learning the craft) since 1995.