Like most things, this tactic is not completely new in marketing, but people are now talking about pattern interrupts as a psychological marketing tactic.
The Human brain is lazy! Or just really efficient, depending on the perspective you choose to take. To help us learn it is really good at identifying patterns. And it constantly tries to ‘automate’ behaviours and repetitive actions.
Depending how ‘efficient’ your brain is, you may have noticed this through out your daily activities. Your brain is always trying to fill in the blanks it creates but not paying full attention – This helps us manage multiple tasks, and contributes to our ability to survive.
You may have noticed yourself switching off, when scrolling social media, or your inbox? And if marketing is all about capturing people’s attention. – how do you compete against the brain itself to grab its attention? – That’s where pattern interrupt comes in.
By breaking patterns of behaviour, marketers can grab the attention of potential customers and create a lasting impact which is why it is a useful tactic to adopt a pattern interrupt copywriting style.
What is a Pattern?
A pattern can be defined as a sequence of events or actions that happen repeatedly. It can be a physical or mental pattern, and it can occur in our everyday life or in our thoughts. For instance, patterns can be seen in the way we speak, think, the way we react to certain situations, and in our habits and routines.
In psychology, a pattern interrupt is a technique used to disrupt an established pattern of thought or behaviour in order to redirect it towards a better outcome. It’s a strategy used to change negatives into positives, to interrupt negative thoughts, or to alter a behaviour. In other words, it’s a tool for making meaningful change.
Why are Pattern Interrupts Important?
Interrupting patterns is important because it allows us to break free from negative thought processes and habits that no longer serve us. When we interrupt the pattern it provides an opportunity for us to change the way we think and act, to create new habits and routines, and to achieve more positive outcomes in our lives.
How to implement Pattern Interrupts
Implementing a pattern interrupt can be simple but depending on the nature and depth of the pattern, can be extremely complex. But simplistically becoming aware of our patterns, changing our environment, shifting our focus, and asking questions are ways way we can interrupt patterns and change outcomes.
Pattern Interrupts in Marketing
Interrupting the pattern in marketing is a way of unexpected strategies to disrupt the ‘automated’ behaviour and attract attention.
Examples of pattern interrupt techniques in marketing would be:
Advertisements that are unexpected and break the mould of typical advertising can be highly effective. For example, an advertisement that doesn’t feature the product at all, but focuses on a unique or unexpected message.
Unique product packaging
Product packaging that is unique and breaks the mould, such as an unusual shape or design, can also be a powerful pattern interrupt.
Unconventional advertising channels
Using unconventional advertising channels can also be an effective pattern interrupt. Some savvy marketing teams that jumped on TikTok early leveraged this as users were not expecting Big brands to be there among the dances and skits.
Bold and controversial
Campaigns with a controversial message or a bold visual design can easily grab the attention of potential customers. We used to call the Guerrilla marketing?
Why is Pattern Interrupt Effective in Marketing?
Pattern interrupt is effective in marketing because it helps to break through the noise that audiences are bombarded with every day. By doing something unexpected, you can grab the attention of potential customers and stand out from competitors. And by creating memorable advertising experiences, you can build stronger connections with potential customers and put your brand top of mind.