… those who get The Law of Binary and those who don’t.
The goal of almost any non-literary writing is to capture and keep people’s attention, make it as easy as possible for them to understand what you’re trying to say, and communicate a message that they’ll remember. Face it, we’re a tribal species. There’s good vs. evil. We’re Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural, “haves” and “have nots,” North and South, people who love cilantro vs. those who think it tastes like soap.
Aristotle was the first to articulate that we live in a world of protagonists and antagonists. Hatfields vs. McCoys instantly gets my attention. Hatfields vs. McCoys and Smiths and Johnsons and Bakers, not so much. Rivalries are always between two entities. Rivalries create instant drama. And we love drama.
Remember those Mac vs. PC ads? Of course you do. It was a simple, clean comparison. It was funny. It was well cast. But most important, it delivered the message—Macs are cool, PCs suck—in an entertaining way. And unlike so many other entertaining and funny ads, you actually remembered what it was promoting, and it made you want to buy whatever it was to be like that guy.
Admit it, these ads totally worked on you.
Binary works, but it doesn’t always stare you in the face like Mac vs. PC. Sometimes you need to create your antagonist. You need to consider all the problems you solve and package them under one name. You need to create the disease that you cure. FOMO didn’t exist until a writer created it. Pharmaceutical companies create diseases all the time.
In 1989, scientists noticed that a pill developed as a medication to high treat blood pressure had an interesting side effect. Viagra was born, but so was “erectile dysfunction.” ‘Nough said.