I recently had an interesting call with a potential client where we went back and forth getting to know each other. In the process, she said to me, “I want to be upfront with you and let you know that I’ve had some bad experiences with people doing lead generation for my business.” And I said, “Who hasn’t?”

I began to relay some stories to let her know that what I’m doing is not basic lead generation. Then it made me think, “How can I better communicate upfront to people what it is that I do?”

Today I want to talk about using mixed emotions and how that can emotionally charge your marketing messages.

If you’re a frequent listener of the Bacon Podcast, you may have heard my interview with Tim Ash, who has a book called Unleash Your Primal Brain. Not only did I interview him on the podcast, but I liked what he had to say so much I had him on my LinkedIn live on Saturday. If you want to check out all the LinkedIn lives, go to LI4sales.com. There you’ll see a link that says LinkedIn lives, and it has the videos of those interviews.

As we were talking, we started to explore how people have narratives in their heads and how to overcome those narratives. In the case of the potential client I was speaking with, she had a narrative that this was lead generation and it’s bad. We have to overcome those things as we’re doing our marketing messages.

Ask yourself, do you understand the mindset of the people that you’re trying to communicate to at the time you’re communicating to them?

Tell Me A Story…

One of the ways that we can look at this is through the story model. There is a literary theorist named Christopher Booker, and he came up with the seven classic story archetypes.

Rags to Riches

In this archetype, somebody poor or derelict gains something then loses it, and then wins it back. It could be money, power, or love. And this story can be found in classic movies like Cinderella or Ratatouille.

The Quest

In this story, the main character must reach a certain location or attain a certain object. And this can be seen in things like Lord of the Rings or Watership Down, even the Wizard of Oz features this story archetype.


The next archetype is rebirth. The most common version of this is Jesus dying and then rising again. But it can also be seen in things like a Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, or even the movie Groundhog Day.

Overcoming the Monster

The next one is overcoming the monster. In this one, you are in a David and Goliath kind of fight. You must overcome some kind of evil force. Examples of this archetype are Dracula or even the Star Wars Trilogy.


The next one is comedy and of course, you can just think of sitcoms. Usually, there’s something funny that happens, and then something comes to a resolution. Two of my all-time favorites include Seinfeld and The Office.


The tragedy is basically comedy’s mirror image. Instead of something happening positive something negative happens at the end and it kind of just leaves you feeling sad. This could be something like Titanic. Now, for those of you who’ve never seen Titanic, I hate to break it to you but the boat sinks. Yeah, it’s kind of tragic.

Voyage and Return

The last one is the classic of the voyage and return. This is also known as the hero’s journey or heroes to journey. This is like the Hobbit or the Chronicles of Narnia. It is where somebody goes through a metamorphosis and comes back stronger at the end and gets back to the new normal.

QUICK… Change that emotion!

Those are the seven archetypes of different stories, but when we’re trying to create marketing messages we generally don’t have time to develop something that big because it takes a while to develop characters, it takes a while to develop the plot. In marketing messages, we have a much shorter period of time. Sometimes it could be seconds or you might be blessed with a blog with 1500 words, but generally speaking, you’re talking a couple of minutes of viewing time or reading time.

When we’re doing that, we’re best to use a simplified version of these stories. There are three that I’d like to discuss. There is the happy, happy, happy. The happy, sad, happy. And the sad, happy, sad.

Happy, Happy Happy

The happy, happy, happy is something that starts out happy, has a happy in the middle, and has a happy ending. A lot of times you can find these in webinars and in sales videos, where somebody comes in and says, “Hey, look how much I’ve been successful. And here’s how easy it is to be successful. And you can be successful too.” That’s a happy, happy, happy. What your doing is trying to lift somebody up the whole time and make them believe that they can be as successful as you, or as successful as your client, depending on who you’re writing for.

Happy, Sad, Happy

The next one is happy, sad, happy. That’s where life could be a lot easier if you just did such and such, but in the meantime, you’re bogged down with this problem and that problem and this problem. Well, let me tell you, there’s a solution to that problem, and this will make you happy. That’s your happy, sad, happy story. Where, again, you lift them up to get their attention, you bring them down to make them feel like, ooh, I want this.

Sad, Happy, Sad

The last one is the sad, happy, sad. Have you ever had a problem that you just couldn’t figure out? Well, guess what? There’s a solution to this and you can find it easily by following my three-step program, but there’s only a limited number available so you need to get it now. Or, this is something where the price is going to go up in five days so buy it now. It’s creating that fear of missing out or that FOMO. And that’s the sad part… you need to get them to feel they will miss out on something important. I will be sad if I don’t have that in my life.

Final Thoughts

The happy, happy, happy obviously is very uplifting and the people like that kind of thing, and it suits the product or service, that’s awesome. The happy, sad, happy lifts people up, gets them in the dumps then makes them feel good again. And finally, the sad, happy, sad story tries to get them to say, “Oh, I don’t want to miss out.”

Obviously, this can be more complex. You could sell all pain. You could sell all pleasure. It depends on your audience and where they’re at. But the key thing about being successful is to try to imagine the narrative that the people have in their heads.

Like the woman I was talking to, she immediately had a negative opinion about trying to gather leads. You have to come in and be empathetic and say, “I understand that this is bad, but guess what? There is a solution. But this solution, may not work for everybody. So we have to find out if it’s right for you.”

The key thing you want to do is to try to understand the narrative in the person’s head that you’re talking to, and then find a way to convince them to get over it and take action.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about marketing messages. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?