“The Pitcher’s Crying On The Mound!” (Pattern Interrupts Explained)

Yesterday’s post was about a pattern interrupt that happened at the church I attended while growing up.

I thought it was a pretty good post…

But then, someone messaged me and told me they don’t really understand what pattern interrupts are…

Or how they work…

And it occurred to me that I should have defined the term more clearly.

So that’s the purpose of today’s post…

To explain pattern interrupts in a lot more detail…

And hopefully do it in a pretty entertaining and interesting way.

Check it out:

A pattern interrupt is anything that unexpectedly interrupts an individual’s thought patterns or behaviors. It goes against pre-defined expectations. And it forces a person’s brain to go from “autopilot” to “fully engaged.”

To use a weird example…

Say it's a Wednesday night in June, and you're at home watching a baseball game on TV. It's the 7th inning and up until now the game has been pretty boring…

But then, something strange happens…

The pitcher for the opposing team is in the middle of his wind up when he suddenly stops.

Instead of throwing a pitch, he paces around a little bit with his hands on his hips…

Then he sits down on the mound, puts his hands to his face, and begins to cry.

I mean really cry. He’s shaking and sobbing like a little kid.

That's a massive pattern interrupt.

Why?

Because the normal pattern in a baseball game is very well defined. Every baseball game generally follows the same “sequence” – from the pre-game, to the first pitch, to the seventh inning stretch, to the final out…

So, normally when we watch a baseball game on TV…

We’re not really paying that close of attention…

Instead, our brain is on autopilot…

Where we’re half paying attention…

And half thinking about what deli meat we’re going to choose when we get lunch at Subway tomorrow.

Then, when something “out of the norm” happens…

Something that doesn’t fit into the usual pattern…

It immediately forces our brain to go off of autopilot.

And we start paying much closer attention. We can't help ourselves – it's human nature.

So in this baseball example, the pattern is normally:

The pitcher receives the ball from the catcher. He composes himself on the mound. He leans in and stares at the catcher. The catcher gives the pitcher different hand signals. The hand signals correspond to different types of pitches. Once the pitcher sees the sign for a pitch he likes, he lets the catcher know by nodding. The pitcher steps back, taking a moment to exhale. Finally the pitcher goes into wind-up, thrusts his body forward, and hurls the baseball towards the catcher.

As the pitch arrives at home plate, there are only 3 possible outcomes.

  1. The batter doesn’t swing.
  2. The batter swings and misses.
  3. The batter swings and makes contact with the ball.

Of course, there’s some variance with these outcomes (not all swings are equal, a grand slam is much more exciting than a foul ball)…

But the point is, our brain is aware of all of these possible outcomes, including the variants…

So no matter what outcome occurs…

We’re not truly surprised.

Now, contrast this to the situation of the pitcher who’s crying on the mound:

The pitcher receives the ball from the catcher…

But instead of doing any of the above…

He sits down on the mound and begins to sob.

To the viewer…

The pattern has been broken entirely…

And your brain has no idea what's going to happen next!

Is he going to keep crying?

Is he going to walk off the field?

Is he going to take out a gun, stare down the barrel, and contemplate ending his life?

Are his teammates going to come comfort him?

You have NO IDEA.

So your brain can’t be lazy anymore…

Instead, it’s FORCED to pay attention and be engaged…

And that’s why the crying pitcher is a pattern interrupt.

Now in terms of copy — you can use pattern interrupts all over the place.

Sometimes they're in the lead…

One of the most classic examples is the original Tao of Badass dating offer, which was written by Jon Benson.

It’s the one that starts with the line:

“Hi! My name is Josh, and this is a fish, and in just a few minutes I am going to show you how this fish will help you get laid.”

In the VSL – it shows a picture of a goldfish too…

And the reason this is a pattern interrupt…

Is because when you click over from an ad on an adult site, or a dating forum, or wherever…

You’re expecting to see hot chicks, or some “alpha bro” on camera laying down the truth about succeeding with women.

Instead though, you see a comical picture of a goldfish…

And hear the voice of a mysterious narrator…

Who is promising that this goldfish can help you sleep with women.

So your brain immediately is like “WTF?”…

And you’re already hooked – you can’t help it.

That’s a pattern interrupt in the lead of a sales letter…

But pattern interrupts can also be in the middle of the copy.

For example:

Let’s say it’s the part of the sales letter where you’re sharing the background story.

You could decide to add a loud gunshot sound effect to the middle of that part of the video…

And then right after the gunshot sound…

Have a line that goes something like:

“It felt like I’d been shot.”

In a case like that, the reader might have been zoning out…

But once you've added that gunshot sound, I guarantee you have their attention…

Because while they’re expecting the VSL to continue on like usual – with the Voiceover Artist talking, the text flashing across the screen…

Suddenly this gunshot sound effect has disrupted everything…

And it jolts their brain wide awake.

Hope this all makes sense.

– SPG

P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link.

 

0 Comments

© 2020 SPG Educational Resources LLC

Stefan Georgi

Pin It on Pinterest

Want to peek inside the mind of one of the world’s most successful copywriters?


My private email list is where I spill all of my secrets. The tricks and tactics that allow me to create winning sales copy time-and-time-again.

The lessons I've learned while building numerous multi-million-dollar companies. The mindset hacks that allow me to perform at an ultra-high-level day-after-day.

APPLY TO JOIN MY EMAIL LIST NOW