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Breaking a wall in the style of Mirro


Breaking the Fourth Wall in Copy

Arrest attention by breaking the fourth wall and creating a conversation with your audience.

By Kristen Dahlin

2 min read

Breaking the fourth wall in advertising grabs your attention. Remember when Megan Rapinoe and The Process told us they were paid a lot of money to sell Hulu having live sports?

That campaign showed us what the fourth wall separating us from the marketing campaign was made of - production, planning, and expensive deals.

That’s what makes breaking it down so fascinating. We’re suspicious of advertising. It's a production, and we don’t like to be sold to. So when your copy drops the pretense, it gets noticed.

Speaking directly to your audience

Talking to your audience and not at them needs a light touch. It’s impactful because it's jarring -- it changes the dynamic of how we passively absorb content. Use this tactic too much, and it starts to lose its attention-grabbing powers.

Here are some tips for reaching through the page effectively:

Be self-aware

You know what your goal is, and your audience does too. Calling out your ad copy with “Yes, this is an ad” is unusual, and will keep people reading.

Picture the reader's world

Imagine exactly what your audience is doing when they encounter your copy, and speak to that. A statement to the mid-morning scrollers like "You're looking at this because your Zoom meeting is running too long" has a decent chance of being right on the money. And even if that's not what your target audience is doing right that minute, it may still resonate because they've done just that before.

Make yourself a character

Behind every piece of copy is a person writing it. If you showcase that person, it brings the production of marketing into focus, and people eat it up. That's why the “inexperienced social media manager” trend resonated on social media.


  • Create an imaginary reader, and brainstorm what they're doing and what's around them at the moment they see your copy
  • Write down the specific details
  • Experiment with talking directly to the reader with these details in your next piece of copy
Kristen Dahlin

About Kristen Dahlin

Kristen fell into content marketing between Disneyland gigs and Hawaiian weddings. With a few years of SEO-fueled freelance under her belt, she wandered into tech. That winding path eventually landed her as a founding team member of BRIL.LA.