Ladies and gay men, behold the best breast self-exam video I’ve ever seen.
I work in charity communications, and I’m jealous as all hell of the team that developed this video and app.
Done drooling yet? No? Okay, watch it one more time and then come back to me.
Done now? Good.
Writer and blogger friends, this video is a lesson in packages. No, not the packages the happy dancing men display during the credits, but the packages we wrap our content up in.
Rule #1: Understand your audience.
We genre fiction writers work hard to study our genre – the rules our readers (and potential agents and editors) expect us to follow. But we can get so wrapped up in the rules that our writing ends up sounding just like everything else out there.
And what do you call something that’s the same as everything else?
Rule #2: Give your audience what they want, but package it in a way they don’t expect.
For an organization like Rethink Breast Cancer, the audience is women. Same audience as the romance genre. And women are so familiar with breast cancer awareness messages that they’re very easy to ignore. We can probably all imagine the typical drawings of a woman performing a self-exam. We can picture the sedate videos of a woman calmly checking herself.
Do you get excited about those videos? Do you tell your friends about them and share them?
More importantly, do they rev you up to examine yourself?
It’s the same with our writing. Something as simple as playing with the basic expectations of our genre can help us create content worth sharing.
Even better, forgetting those expectations entirely can give your creative brain more freedom to explore new possibilities. I can just imagine the euphoria the Rethink Breast Cancer team must’ve felt when they hit upon the idea for this campaign. It’s bloody brilliant, and as soon as I buy a smartphone it’s the first app I’ll download.
God, I hope someone one day says the same about one of my novels.
Do you think this video is effective? Does it stand out from the “genre” of health videos? If so, does it stand out in a positive way? How can you brainstorm ways to stand out from your own genre? What authors can you think of who play with their genre’s constraints and create something marvelously new?