January This challenge involves reading a handful of books, copying some famous adverts, doing the whole thing again and then writing your own adverts to finish it off. Copywriting books — especially from an era before quick-fix internet marketers took over — are interesting reads. The density of information is great, the amount of insight and methods you pick up will make you a better copywriter and business person in general, and most of the books in the challenge are loaded with examples. Your only reference points are other great ads, and it all merges into one. With How To Write A Good Advertisement, you get to see the difference between good and bad… this helps you appreciate the good even more, and see the artistry behind a good ad.
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Log In Sign Up. Lydia James. Even a copywriter, whose breed is not noteworthy for arithmetical prowess, could not escape arriving at the conclusion that the number of years from to totals forty-four. And, Heaven help me! That a large measure of this past experience has been associated with a particularly demanding kind of advertising copy may, as will be explained, be an advantageous circumstance for the reader of this book, regardless of what type of copywriting job confronts him.
For the subject of the book is not the writing of mail-order copy. Its sole purpose is to lend a hand to any copywriter or student of copy-writing whose ambition is to create advertisements which are more resultful, no matter what the product is or how and where it is sold. As to why the author's background of experience may represent an advantageous circumstance for such copywriters, I will leave to an infinitely more capable pen than mine—that of no less an authority than Claude G.
Hopkins, one of the greatest copywriters of "general" advertising who ever lived: "Mail-order advertising is difficult. But it is educational. It keeps one on his mettle. It fixes one's viewpoint on cost and result. The advertising-writer learns more from mail- order advertising than from any other. On the other hand, if in the writing of any type of advertising you want more of your copy to achieve the selling effectiveness imperative for any mail-order man who wants to continue eating heartily, this book may prove helpful to you.
At any rate, you are the person for whom it was written. Much of its information will probably recall to your mmd the aphorism, "We need not so much to be instructed as to be reminded. Finally, and appertaining to the passages which are reminiscent in nature, the author has tried to avoid any necessity for later having to admit, like Mark Twain, that "When I was very young I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.
But now I am older and I can only remember the latter. Most sales difficulties for example, problems of dealer distribution, cooperation, and brand switching actually hark right back to impotent advertisements. They were too easily resistible; simply not good enough to make people see, read, and act upon them: to go out and demand the product advertised and no other. Poor copy cannot overcome faults or gaps in dealer distribution; it cannot even cash in on the finest dealer setups. But good copy can, and does, surmount many dealer difficulties, making them secondary, and selling in spite of them.
Therefore, since either the blame for failure or the credit for success in many sales campaigns can rightly be laid at the doorstep of the advertisements themselves, the first five chapters of this book concentrate upon certain basic elements of a good advertisement. This is essential, because, as Conde Nast once stated, "The more factors we do not know, the more important it is for us to isolate those very few factors which we count on.
Five of them are discussed in our first chapters. Most advertising copywriters know these fundamentals. Many of us practice them. Some of us should get back to them. Whether one is now studying to go into the field of copywriting, whether he is new in the craft, or whether he has been a practitioner in it for years, his knowledge—and practice—of these fundamentals will determine the extent of his success.
As Daniel Defoe said, "An old and experienced pilot loses a ship by his assurance and over-confidence of his knowledge as effectively as the young pilot does by his ignorance and want of experience. For, as time goes on, every line of creative work gets cluttered up with impressive jargon and off-the-beam technicalities, with professional palaver that strays far away from the main objective.
Someone has said, "Whenever people are particularly muddled in their thinking they invent big words to cover their confusion. Its basic purpose is simple: to make people buy a product or a service.
Not just to make them pause, or admire, or even merely to believe. That's a very clear purpose. But in practice—that's where the fuzziness comes in. And the result: Beautiful examples of the art of advertising are produced, printed, admired—and, page after page, flipped over by the public.
Get Attention 2. Show People an Advantage 3. Prove It 4. Persuade People to Grasp This Advantage 5. Ask for Action An advertisement cannot stimulate sales if it is not read; it cannot be read if it is not seen; and it will not be seen unless it can Get Attention. That's the round robin which Daniel Starch must have had in mind when he wrote "The attention- value of an advertisement is approximately twice as important as the actual convincingness of the test itself. Nobody in the world except you is waiting for your advertisement to appear.
Everybody in the world except you would much rather read the news, comics, stories, articles, editorials or even the obituaries. You, the advertiser, are the Uninvited Guest—actually, let's face it, an intruder.
No reader asked you, or paid you, to join the party which he is having with the publication he has bought. You paid to get in. The reader has bought the publication for news, entertainment, or instruction which is of helpful personal value. So that is what your advertisement also has to provide—if you are to stand any chance of competing with the publication's editorial matter for the interest of the reader. And then, to make him pay you for your product, you must make it pay him to read about it.
Successful advertisers purposely start from this premise: People don't want to read advertising—not even mine. Two obstacles—before the contest even begins Of course, before your advertisement even has an opportunity to compete for attention against a publication's editorial matter and the other advertisements in it, there are a few other obstacles which have to be met and overcome.
First, the publication if delivered by mail to a subscriber must be unwrapped and at least made ready for reading. Actually, many thousands of copies are not opened, more than at first thought you might imagine. The issues come pretty fast, particularly the weeklies, and many people just "do not get around" to them. That is why advertising men check carefully on the amount of newsstand circulation of a publication.
For this represents circulation to people who have actually gone out and purchased single copies, not copies which "come to them" as a result of a subscription ordered previously— perhaps at a cut-price subscription rate so low that the subscriber, having invested so little, can be quite casual about reading them. Second, the contents of the publication must at least be examined —and the more of the reader's time which the editorial material in the publication attracts, the better chance your advertisement has of being noticed.
Here, however, you again lose a certain additional percentage of potential readership: those who, in spite of how much time they may give to the editorial content of the publication, give very little of it some readers claim none at all! One survey indicates that the average person reads only four advertisements in the average magazine. Another investigator, George B. Hotchkiss, in his Advertising Copy, tells us that to read a metropolitan newspaper completely through requires at least fourteen hours—and a study made for the Association of National Advertisers cites a survey demonstrating that "over 66 per cent of a large group of business and professional men spent 15 minutes or less in reading daily newspapers.
And, to capture that attention, you've to earn it—either with your headline or with your layout, and preferably with both. How Important Is the Headline? How important a part does the headline alone play in the accomplishment of our first purpose: Get Attention? Perhaps you have read somewhere that 50 per cent of the value of an entire advertisement is represented by the headline itself.
Or 70 per cent. Or 80 per cent. The truth is that you cannot possibly evaluate it in percentages. For example, what percentage better is an automobile that runs beautifully as compared with one that won't run at all? It's the same with headlines. One can be almost a total failure in accomplishing even its primary purpose: to induce people to start reading the body matter the copy of the advertisement. Another headline can work almost like magic in enticing readers by the thousands into an ad whose copy moves people to action and thus moves products off the shelves.
Yes, there is really that much difference in the power of headlines. It isn't enough to cram persuasiveness into the body matter. Some of the most tremendous flops among advertisements contain body matter filled with convincing copy.
But it just wasn't capsuled into a good headline. And so the excellent copy did not even get a reading. For, obviously, it is the headline that gets people into the copy; the copy doesn't get them into the headline. In other words, the copywriter's aim in life should be to try to make it harder for people to pass up his advertisement than to read it. And right in his headline he takes the first, and truly giant, step on the road to that goal. So much for the importance of headlines—and for the staggering waste and loss of effectiveness when expensive advertising space is devoted to displaying poor ones.
The sole purpose of a headline What is the sole purpose of a headline? To make it crystal clear we'll use a simple and sufficiently accurate analogy. The headline of an advertisement is like a flag being held up by a flagman alongside a railroad track. He is using it to try to get the immediate attention of the engineer of an approaching train—so that he can give him some kind of message.
In the case of advertising, on that flag is printed the headline of an advertisement. Let's carry the analogy further. The train consists of a fast-moving modern Diesel engine and one car.
The one dependent car contains the rest of the family. They are all speeding along the track of their daily lives—moving fast in accordance with the hectic tempo of today. The message on that flag the headline of the advertisement must be persuasive. Yes, and persuasive enough to compete with all the other distractions of life. It must capture attention.
How to Write a Good Advertisement
How to Write a Good Advertisement: A Short Course in Copywriting