By 1910, Henry Ford had spent five years and thousand dollars perfecting his new Model T car. It was time to advertise. But what sort of ad should he run? Ads at that time were mostly art or photos, with a very little copy or words. But Ford believed that art alone couldn’t sell his model T. It had to described in detail.
A few weeks later, readers of the “Saturday Evening Post” were startled to see a two-page long black and white ad, with no pictures and all words!
“When Ford speaks, the world listens”, boldly declared the headline. The ad contained more words or copy (1200 words to be exact) than any ad of the day. It detailed the financial condition of the Ford Company, listed its 28 factories assembly plants and branches, and described how Model T was invented. Ford was proven right in no time at all. The ad soon produced more sales than any other auto ad in history. And it gave Henry Ford his first push toward beginning the most profitable manufacturing company in the world, 10 years later.
The above example illustrates the power and potential of copy to stimulate action.
Let us now look at the specific role of copywriting in the advertising creative process. There are two aspects to advertising creativity—“Creativity Strategy” and “Creative Tactics”. Both “Strategy” and “Tactics” are terms borrowed from military terminology. While Strategy refers to the broad, overall planning of an activity, Tactics refers to the detailed steps taken to execute that plan.
Creative Strategy specifies what the advertising is to convey. It is the starting point for Creative Tactics. It involves decisions such as brand positioning, image, personality and attributes.
Example: Macfast serves delicious wholesome, food made-on-the-spot to your order that provides a change from the usual fast-food meals.
Creative Tactics, on the other hand, determine how the message is going to be conveyed. It includes both verbal and visual development of the message. In this section, we are concerned with copy, or Verbal Creative Tactics. Verbal Creative Tactics involve decisions such as type of copy, appeal, etc. which will examine in detail later.
Example: “Macfast — The fffrresh fast –food alternative”.
Accompanying visual creative tactics for TV commercial for the restaurant could include—extreme close-ups of the food, showing freshness of ingredients, close- ups of eaters to show enjoyment of food, or the above slogan written in an unusual type style.
Let us now refer back to the Model T, to understand the objectives of copy. This example illustrated the ultimate purpose of copy—to persuade or remind people to take some action, in order to satisfy a need.
However, good copy must fulfill some basic objectives, before going on to induce action. As a first step, copy must gain the prospect’s attention. Simply having a great idea is not enough it needs to be presented properly and have stopping power. There are several devices which could be used to achieve this attention- gaining function.
The headline is usually the major attention-gaining device. It can halt the progress of readers through newspaper or a magazine. Various tactics may be used for gaining attention through headlines. We shall examine these in detail later.
One effective type of headline is to ask question and get prospects to read on, to find the answer. For example, the Grasim Suitings caption:
“How does Robert De Niro turn on the Heat?”
There is a pun on the word “heat”, which refers to the movie starring Robert De Niro. The curiosity of the reader is aroused and he is tempted to read further. The message: Wearing Grasim Suitings makes you a star.
You ‘ve now grabbed your customer’s attention. He’s looking at the ad. But if you can’t keep his interest, you’re going to lose him. As a copywriter, you will need to talk to him, about him, about his problems and needs.
Interesting copy is like an effective salesman. If it is inviting, enthusiastic and encourages participation, it will hold the prospect. If not, it will be shunned like a rude salesman! Copy can hold interest through use of subheads, humour (provided it is relevant), invigorating body copy, variety in sentence construction and length, choice of words, and combinations of letters to mention a few techniques.
Latest posts by BMS Team (see all)
- Meterdown Annual Festival is back with its 7th edition – Starts today! - January 16, 2020
- Tybms sem 6 results 2019 declared on 19th June 2019 - June 19, 2019
- TYBMS Sem 6 Results 2019 Update from BMS khabri! - June 15, 2019