How to get the attention when your audience zones out

A Polish commercial.

We see a man and a woman waking up entangled on a couch.

The man opens his eyes and tenderly kisses the blonde woman on her shoulder. She looks at him, beaming.

‘What’s your name anyway?’ she asks.

Surprise number 1.

The man smiles. His torso is naked. Then he puts on a green shirt.

She asks if he wants to stay for breakfast.

In the next shot, we see the man and the woman in full for the first time.

Surprise number 2: the man is in a wheelchair.

He turns to the camera and wants to roll towards the door.

Surprise number 3: the woman’s husband enters with a bouquet of roses.

In the final shot, the man in the wheelchair asks the viewers: ‘What if I would take your spot?’ In the background, we see the husband crying.

Next, a voice-over delivers the punchline – surprise number 4: ‘Do not park in spaces for disabled people’.

When things go as you expect, your brain can go into slumber mode. But when something surprising happens, that catches your attention.

That’s how it was on the steppe, and it still works like that.

This is why surprise is such an important ingredient for communication and storytelling. Just pay attention to this the next time you watch a tv series or a movie.

Time to add a surprising twist to your next presentation or blog post?