McDonald's Beach Balls
Last week, I watched this commercial on mute. So what? You don't need a critical eye to see that there are two things going on here.
Thing #1: Images
First, there is the image of the beach balls. In a train station somehow occupied only by attractive youths, boredom reigns until someone sips a McDonald's sugar drink, causing beach balls to drop from the ceiling, like confetti over a convention. In describing its drink, McDonald's didn't just settle for an adjective like fun. Instead, it converted that adjective into an image: beach balls. You can use the same technique. If you have an adjective in mind, ask yourself what image from your experience might communicate that adjective.
Thing #2: Comparisons
Second, there is the comparison: drinking a McDonald's sugar drink is as relaxing as playing with beach balls. Once in a while, we do stumble across a great adjective. But let's not stop there. Let's expand that adjective into a comparison. McDonald's sugar drinks are not just refreshing; they are as refreshing as playing with beach balls. "As," "like," and "than" can unlock your comparisons.
Tying it Together
Images = beach balls Comparisons = beach balls Images + comparisons = better writing. Therefore: beach balls = better writing. You know it. Don't forget the beach balls!
Good luck writing!
Jon Perkins holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He helps students with their college, law school, and medical school applications.