(No, my mom didn’t die, nor would I be happy…)
Here’s the story:
If you’re a fellow 90s kid like your humble narrator here, then you’re familiar with Dan Schneider’s Nickelodeon TV shows. He created classic kid shows like All That, The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, iCarly, and the list goes on.
Well, turns out he was also a creep and an arsehole. But he ain’t the subject of this email…
One of the stars in multiple Dan Schneider-produced shows is one Jennette McCurdy. She first appeared in iCarly before getting her own Nickelodeon spin-off with Ariana Grande called Sam & Cat.
(Full disclosure: I’ve only seen a few episodes of iCarly and didn’t even know Sam & Cat existed until recently.)
Jennette had a terrible experience with iCarly (and I’m assuming this carries over to Sam & Cat too).
She was a child actor, who like many child actors, didn’t want to act. But according to Google, Jennette made a nice $50k per iCarly episode. By the time Jennette was 10 or 11, she was the breadwinner of her family. And, I believe I remember seeing something about how creepy Schneider wanted her feet pics…
Well, Jennette quit acting shortly after the last episode of Sam & Cat aired. She said she wouldn’t come back for an iCarly reboot, stating that she never wanted to do it in the first place. And she recently became a best-selling author.
The title of her book?
“I’m glad my mom died”
Now, I haven't read the book. Nor did I know much about Jennette’s personal life before I started writing this email. Instead, I want to talk about the benefit of writing provocative and polarizing titles.
Of course, you can apply this to your books. Your subject lines. Your headlines. Subheadlines. Bullets. Or any other copy you write.
Let’s checky some of the stats:
“I’m glad my mom died” sold out within 24 hours of hitting retailers like Amazon, Target, and Barnes & Noble. It sold over 200,000 units in its first week.
Not too shabby for someone who isn’t in the main lexicon of celebrities.
And the title is so provocative and so polarizing that it makes people completely unfamiliar with Jennette’s life and career—like me for example—interested enough to buy it.
I may never read a page of her book. But I am more interested in it after reading the title than I ever would’ve been. I didn’t even remember that Jennette McCurdy existed. Now, I’m writing an email about her book title.
Such is the power of polarizing copy.
Reminds me of the most-opened subject lines back before 2016:
Rumor has it, if you simply wrote the word “trump”—even in the verb sense and not in the Donald Trump sense—in your subject lines, your open rates would skyrocket.
Trump is polarizing.
So is “I’m glad my mom died.”
And polarization creates intrigue, which is perhaps a copywriter’s #1 job.
Sumtin to consider as you’re writing your next email, sales letter, blog post, or book.
If you need help injecting polarizing copy into your emails, book a call here.
Mayhap we can partner together and I can prove to you just how infectious polarizing copy is.