You Don’t Live In The WhiteHouse
The Obama campaign used HEY as an email subject line with wild success, but then he is the President of the United States. Claude Hopkins wrote the definitive guide to advertising in the first quarter of the 20th century and even he acknowledged that we can never actually know what will work in advertising. We can only test everything and use the winning approach. The same is true with headline.
He Sings Like Al Green
Beyond the discipline of testing, we can make educated guesses about headline appeal and the appeal of President Obama saying “Hey” is a bit of cognitive dissonance. The colloquial approach certainly added to his “hip”, “cool” persona.
Nobody Hates Clarity
But you might say that many in the Social Media have made good use of unusual, paradoxical headlines. This is true but many of these folks have established a brand already and therefore, pique the curiosity of their readers much easier than you might, using the same email or social media headline. In general, vague and confusing headlines are not a good long term strategy for establishing readership.