The Inglourious Basterds method of copywriting

By May 13, 2020May 19th, 2020Copywriting, Marketing

Let’s talk about Quentin Tarantino.

And why he would be a MASTER copywriter.

Or master marketer depending on your point of view, I guess.

A couple of weeks ago, I rewatched the Inglourious Basterds. Wow. That movie is incredible. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.

There’s especially one scene that had me cracking up.

The scene has Christoph Waltz playing probably one of the best movie villains ever: German SS officer Hans Landa. Seriously, this guy is freaking terrifying. He’s charming, he’s intimidating, and he’s dangerously intelligent.

Now, this one scene, in particular, has a classic copywriting principle hidden inside.

You can learn a ton about writing great blog posts, social media posts, or sales letters from this one scene alone.

The movie isn’t a comedy per se, but this scene is comedy gold.

You can watch it here: [2:08 min]

So what’s the underlying marketing lesson you should take away from this?

It’s this:

“Show, don’t tell.”

It’s a classic principle of copywriting. Maybe you’ve heard about this before. Maybe you haven’t. In either case, this scene from Inglourious Basterds is a perfect example of how to flawlessly execute the “show, don’t tell” principle.

Let’s dissect this bad boy.

In the scene, Hans Landa is asking the three American resistance members about their Italian names. He’s not just asking them *what* their names are he’s asking them to pronounce them.

Think about this:

Why would you ask some, presumably, ordinary Italian moviemakers to pronounce their names several times?

Why doesn’t he just call them out?

That’s the genius of Tarantino’s writing.

A lesser writer would have Hans Landa talk to the three Americans… exchange some friendly banter… and finally, call them out as American resistance members, and then command the entire german army to unleash its fury on the resistance members.

I’m not a Hollywood screenwriter, of course. But something like that would probably work fine in the context of the movie.

But the way Tarantino wrote this scene is brilliant.

You can *feel* the tension.

Because you subconsciously *know* that Landa already knows exactly what’s going on.

And every time he’s asking them to repeat their name that tension keeps building.

Hell, he even congratulates one of them for pronouncing his own name! Imagine if someone you’d just met did that to you!

But this is the essence of “show, don’t tell.”

And Quinton Tarantino uses this principle in all his movies to perfection.

And that’s the thing: If you want to write great, natural-sounding sales emails, you should focus on *SHOWING* people how your product can help them instead of telling them how great the product is.

Kristian’s #1 rule of marketing:

“Nobody cares about you or your product.”

There are many ways to skin this cat.

Some examples:

  • Telling stories (like what I did in this email)
  • Using images, videos, etc. (which I also did in this email)
  • Using metaphors
  • And the list goes on…

Of course, there are many more dimensions to writing great sales emails that convert.

And that’s why I’d love to hear from you.

I’m working on some new marketing material, and I want to make sure nothing’s missing. Would you let me know the first questions that come to mind when you think about writing sales emails?

I’m using a simple Google form to track feedback.

If you’re open to help a brother out, plug your #1 question here: