This Article Will Self-Destruct in 10 Seconds!

This Article Will Self-Destruct in 10 Seconds!

Cabbage Patch Riots of 1983. Upper-left photo from Eyewitness News ABC7NY video. Other 3 corners from the book “Fantasy : the incredible Cabbage Patch phenomenon” by William Hoffman.

This Article Will Self-Destruct in 10 Seconds!

Add Fervent Urgency to Your Offer and See New Success

Let’s say this article had some critical, life-changing info. But it was self-destructing in 10 seconds! What would you do? Rush to take a full-page screenshot? Copy-and-paste the article? Click a button that says, “Deactivate the self-destruct”?

This is my way of showing a pillar of persuasive writing – URGENCY. It’s the U in the SUV Model for copywriting. It’ll drive your sales up the mountain like an unbreakable GMC Hummer SUV. Without urgency, your SUV will stall. Urgency is the fuel for this SUV. Urgency drives response rates and sales.

“In order to be a great marketer, you have to be focused and intense and look at scarcity, urgency, activity, and passion in the marketplace.” – Dave Ramsey, speaker, and radio host.

A man stands above an angry mob in a store. He waves an aluminum baseball bat menacingly at the crowd.

No alt text provided for this image

Another giant swarm gathers outside a Venture department store. They’re pushing against the entrance. The glass doors are vibrating in and out from the crush.

No alt text provided for this image

This is not a zombie movie. It’s a cold, early morning in late November 1983.

“One of the guys went out from the back… to find out why everyone was there…and says, ’Oh my gosh. They’re here for the dolls.’” – Tina Eardley, Venture department store worker. (source: Pixel Dan’s YouTube video “Tales from the Cabbage Patch Riots of 1983 | Toysplosion”)

They open the doors early to keep the glass doors from shattering. People swarm in.

What “doll” could cause such behavior?

This “doll” was the Cabbage Patch Kid.

No alt text provided for this image

“They’re one of a kind. They’re Cabbage Patch Kids. You can give them all of your love.” -Commercial jingle for Cabbage Patch Kids.

Love was not in the air amongst the crazed parents fighting for these dolls.

“What do we tell our girl, Christmas morning? What’re we supposed to say? You’ve been good, but Santa ran short! Is this what Christmas is about? A full-grown woman taking a doll out of a child’s hands?!?” – Mother relating her Cabbage Patch horror story. (source: Eyewitness News ABC7NY’s YouTube video “SEE IT: The wild story of the Cabbage Patch Kid Riots of 1983”)

There's more:

“These two women had each other by the hair…yanking each other’s hair to get this doll that was between them.” – Tina Eardley, Cabbage Patch Riots Survivor.

I’m a copywriter that has seen urgency increase response rates. Copywriters must move readers to take action – the sooner, the better.

Urgency is one of the pillars of persuasive writing and sales. What can the Cabbage Patch Kids craze teach us about urgency?

Urgency fueled the huge success of the Cabbage Patch Kids. The first part of urgency is scarcity, and the Cabbage Patch Kids had it.

No alt text provided for this image

Only 3 million Cabbage Patch Kids were available in 1983. The USA had about 33 million kids, and they all seemed to want one. That’s one Cabbage Patch doll for every 11 kids.

Making things scarcer, each Cabbage Patch was one of a kind. Each kid had a unique stamp, features, first-and-middle-name combo, and birth certificate. The new adoptive “parent” got to give them their last name.

The second factor of urgency is a deadline. All these parents had the hard deadline of Christmas or Hanukkah. Those Cabbage Patch dolls had to show up in time. The kids would make it an Unhappy Hanukkah and Scary Christmas otherwise.

The final urgency factor is a “Call To Action” or CTA. The Cabbage Patch marketing campaign asked kids and parents to give the dolls their love and a home. This call to action was clear and emotional.

No alt text provided for this image

Take action now to boost your response rates. Put these 3 simple actions to work in your business:

Action #1: Scarcity. Put a limit on what you are offering. If it’s an info product, offer a limited bonus: only the first 30 orders include a coaching call. Highlight the limited number of spaces available in an offer. Explain this on something like ensuring great support for each person taking action.

Humans prize scarce items. Think diamonds over dirt; gold over lead. How is your product scarce? How can you inject scarcity into your offer?

Action #2: Deadline. Give them a limited amount of time before a special offer expires. Master copywriter Joshua T. Boswell has seen 80% of sales come during the final third of an offer period. A deadline gives a busy person something to mark on a calendar. They can set a reminder for it.

Add a countdown clock to your emails, webpages, and more. Add a “quantity left” indicator. This could be a simple “number left” or visual. Create a status bar showing the amount left.

Action #3: Call to Action. We respond to a command. We’ve been conditioned only to respond when given a call to action. Lead them by showing what to do next. Giving a clear call to action hugely increases response rates. Find ways to add emotion to your call to action. Remember the Cabbage Patch example of giving the kid your love and a home.

“Every sale has 5 basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” – Zig Ziglar, author/salesman/speaker

Let me add this:

“To remove the sales obstacle of ‘no hurry,’ use urgency.” – Charles Polanski, the copywriter who just made up this quote.


About Charles Polanski: I help B2B: SaaS/Software companies. Need a creative freelance copywriter? Let's talk:

(Baseball-bat-guy photo is a screenshot from the Eyewitness News ABC7NY’s YouTube video “SEE IT: The wild story of the Cabbage Patch Kid Riots of 1983”. The Cabbage Patch Kid in a box is adapted from an Etsy ad from OurRetroReflections called "Cabbage Patch Doll - Boy - 1983 - WITH BOX - Chet Boyd - Cabbage Patch Kids - Birth Certificate - Blonde Hair - Blue Eyes - Vintage". All other images from the book “Fantasy : the incredible Cabbage Patch phenomenon” by William Hoffman.)