SOME COPY TIPS FROM AN OLD HANDWritten by Patrick Quinn
I have been in ad game for a long, long time. I have trained hundreds of writers, and I've been responsible for shifting millions of dollars in product worldwide. Here are just a few tips that I hope will help you do a better job, and make a bigger name for yourself.
One. Whatever copy job you are working on - brochure, mailer, sales letter, press ad - always include a headline. A pertinent headline. A selling headline. This headline will be, or should be, powerful enough or intriguing enough to draw your target into compass of body copy. If it can do that, you are on a winner. To put it simply, your headline should be a snapshot of your sales message - a précis of your offer or promise. In other words, a headline that says: Buy this product and get this benefit.
Two. Always remember, people don't buy products, they buy benefits of owning those products. A man doesn't buy a sports car because it is precision engineered or aesthetically designed. He buys it because of ego-boost it gives him. It shows world that he has made it. Likewise, a woman doesn't by a cocktail dress by Camille of Paris simply because of cut or exquisite stitching. She buys it for cachet that is attached to label. She would probably look as good in a dress from a High Street department store, but she wouldn't feel as good. And that's benefit.
Three. Around 30% of all copy headlines are both useless and irrelevant The worst of them often take form of puns or are re-workings of current film titles or song titles. Puns are fine if they are appropriate, which they seldom are. And writer who tries to demonstrate how cool he is by working his product message into a film or song title is usually doing a lot for sales of movie tickets and CDs, but very little for his client. The moral is this. State your sales proposition cleverly, wittily, stridently or emotively, but never ever employ a device simply because it's easy thing to do. If you can't be original, at least be positive.
A LESSON IN ADVERTISING FROM THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURYWritten by Patrick Quinn
Back in 1760s, great Dr Samuel Johnson delivered himself of dictum that 'promise, large promise is soul of advertising'. It's a good thought, a great thought; and I contend that what was true then is equally true today. But it seems to me that modern advertisers are tying themselves into unnecessary knots in an attempt to reach audiences which they believe are becoming increasingly indifferent to their blandishments.
Well, yes, markets are turning deaf ears and blind eyes, but they always have done, though not for reasons generally espoused by world's marketers. I am convinced that despite all sophisticated research and marketing effort that goes into advertising these days, real reason that markets are indifferent to advertising is because much of it ignores many splendoured principle that people don't buy products, they buy benefits of owning those products.
Today, great proportion of advertisers don't deliver sales messages, they tell what they hope are emotive stories with which market can empathise, then they drop product in as an afterthought, hoping that enough emotional cross-communication has been achieved for people to reach for their credit cards. That it doesn't and people won't has resulted in huge advertising budget cut-backs in developed world in recent years. Only a manufacturer who has taken leave of his senses will throw even more money at a strategy that doesn't work.
The strategy responsible operates under title Emotional Sales Proposition (ESP), thought in some quarters to be an advance on Unique Sales Proposition (USP) which, on contrary, does actually work. What has been overlooked or, more likely, ignored, is that in developing principle of USP in late 1950s, brilliant Rosser Reeves was striving to replace an advertising strategy that had been in situ for 30 or so years and was fast running out of steam. What was device he was hoping to supersede? Well, by any other name, it was emotional sales proposition. I won't bore you with detail, but if you'd like to find out more, you should lay your hands on Reeves' book, Reality in Advertising (MacGibbon & Kee - 1961). It could be an eye-opener.