Make your copy unsinkable with this simple trick used in Jaws

1 min read

Bruce.

That’s what Spielberg named the mechanical shark in the 1975 summer blockbuster, Jaws.

Constructed from a steel skeleton covered with polyurethane rubber, the electronic munching machine was sure to send waves of cinemagoers scuttling to the nearest laundrette.

But early into the production, mechanical failure with Bruce’s nautical gnashers and other electrical components meant the movie’s budget and direction went overboard.

Feeling the pressure from Universal Studios, a 27-year-old Spielberg decided to shoot the opening scene featuring a flailing Susan Backlinie without the inclusion of a shark.

Strange, you might say. But even now, forty-something years on, the iconic scene continues to cause ripples of terror feeding off our primal fears. It’s as if the absence of the shark makes the great fish that much scarier.

The takeaway? Sometimes, inviting your audience to use their imagination can lead to depths often unreachable when we connect every dot with words (or mechanical sharks called Bruce).

Tom Davies is a freelance copywriter based in Brighton.

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