All good copywriters are taught about everyone’s favorite radio station:

WIIFM — What’s In It For Me?

Because people are shockingly self-centered.

They don’t give their attention to much that doesn’t offer the prospect of personal gain.

And yet…

We ARE, in fact, a social species.

Altruistic behavior does happen — and we love to hear about it.

So much so that the news used to (and may still) have a section for feel-good, “human interest” stories.

While a lot of what gets passed around the interwebs these days is highly partisan, anger-inducing stuff, and while the “If it bleeds, it ledes” axiom still holds true…

A healthy amount of memetic, socially-transmitted content produces joy, both in the form of laughs, but also in the form of stories that “restores your faith in humanity.”

Why is that?

Because as a social species, we’re hardwired to care about each other — so long as…

We see the other person as like us and part of our tribe.

So, your ads could focus narrowly on telling people “What’s In It For Them” if they buy for you, via Unique Selling Propositions or Transactional Offers.


You could help customers feel that you’re “like them” and part of their tribe.

The problem with the first approach is that it works best when the audience is in the market right now for whatever you’re selling.

Which makes it an expensive proposition when using mass media.

Of course, you could then amp-up the memorability and repetition of your message so that the reason-why appeals come to mind when audience members eventually do come into the market.

Geico’s “15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance” comes to mind as an example of that.

But it’s kind of a sloppy, brute-force approach.

The beauty of the second approach is that it works to persuade everyone in the audience.

Also, it comes with its own memorability enhancers baked-in via storytelling.

But truly, this isn’t an either-or proposition — nor should it be.

Brands do best when they have likability, reason-why appeals, and memorability in their messaging.

So my questions to you are this:

  • Does your mass media advertising make use of all three?
  • Are you actively making people feel like you’re one of them, part of their tribe, and on their side?
  • And is there any amount of WIIFM appeal to your messages? Any sort of sales activation activity going on?

If not, why not?

And would you like help fixing that?