Last week, I took a call from a guy wanting a print ad. Yes, they still exist. He was pretty high up in his field, a big cheese in financial planning. Let’s call him Harry. That’s not his name. But it makes a great headline.
Harry was a cool guy. Probably still is. He just wasn’t shaping up to be brilliant to work with. You see, Harry had some fixed ideas about what he wanted.
He liked creativity, ‘clever’ copywriting, a bit of wit. And he loved a one-word headline.
Now, as far as I know, there’s only one one-word headline that ever sold anything. And that had Bill Bernbach behind it. And possibly a chest of Nazi gold.
You see, those mega-creative ads are written for two reasons:
a) to get you to feel warm and fuzzy about the brand (without actually doing anything as grubby as buying the product) and,
b) to get the ad agency some silverware.
I’m being presumptuous here, but I’m going to suggest that you might not have a multimillion-dollar advertising budget. So you don’t have time and wonga to waste on trying to make people feel gooey about your brand.
What you want is food, a roof and clothing.
To that end, the only ads I’ll write for anyone offer either an obvious massive benefit in the headline or a huge pain point. They won’t include puns, and wordplay will also be notably absent, unless it can be worked into the USP.
I’ll probably even use a proven formula. It’s completely legal to borrow ideas and I’m not irresponsible enough to use someone else’s cash to conduct wild creative experiments.
Once I’d explained all this, Harry suddenly got savvy. He completely bought into my reasoning and we got the job done.
Hey, you don’t tell the plumber or the kitchen installer how to do their jobs. So the takeaway from this? Trust your copywriter, folks. Especially if it’s me…