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The Incredible, Versatile Origin Story

Published by: David Garfinkel on 06-03-2024

First weekend in May, the #1 show on Netflix was an origin story. Not a real origin story, but a total fabrication for comedy purposes. It was a movie called Unfrosted.

It’s important for copywriters for a couple of reasons.

The first is the power of a product name.

The movie was a totally fictional story about how Kellogg's popular toaster pastries became a hit in grocery stores.

It's hardly a spoiler to tell you the name they settled on that led to the big bucks: Pop-Tarts.

How they got there is a big part of the totally made-up plot.

Also, there's a great cameo by actors Jon Hamm and John Slattery, who play two leading characters in the series Mad Men.

In the new Netflix movie, they play out-of-touch New York admen who come up with totally wrong product names.

Later in the movie, when they hear the name Pop-Tarts, one of ’em grumbles an admission of defeat:

"That'll sell."

So that’s the first important lesson for copywriters:

Gotta get the name right!

But there’s a second lesson that’s maybe even more important, since copywriters often don’t have control over the product name anyway.

And that lesson is this:

People love origin stories.

Yet I’ve found a lot of the time, copywriters don’t know how to put an effective one together, and how to use it once they do.

We’ll cover that today on the show.

My book, The Persuasion Story Code:

Keywords: story telling origin stories copywriting

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