Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is chock-full of brilliant insights. (So much so, I feel like it should be a required read for every marketer, entrepreneur and business person.) And while we, thankfully, don’t have to stand on the frontline of an actual war each day, we are immersed in a form of war. We fight for attention. We fight to be remembered. We fight to break through the noise. We fight to not only make people give a damn, but to give enough of a damn they take action and do something.

A tidbit of wisdom from The Art of War…

“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” 

A couple days ago, I clicked a video that popped into my Facebook feed. With the flurry of pre-Super Bowl ads floating around, I assumed it was another pre-release for SB XLIX. (I was wrong.) Upon hitting play, the spot led me down a familiar path. Then along came the thunderbolt.

Not only did this PSA get the fight right, they even followed another of Tzu’s tenets:

“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

Some of Us called PepsiCo to the floor, leading them right to the only open escape hatch. They’ve been called out. Now if they want a way out, they’ll have to change their ways. 

Here are a few other examples of PSAs that got the thunderbolt right…

(Warning: Trigger alerts.) 

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