A simple copywriting test

4 Dec

I was intrigued by my colleague Tom Hammarberg’s comment at the end of my recent self-pitying post on the death of the copywriter.

He suggested that long body copy ads should be foisted on the public in places where they have no choice but to read them. Like this one quirky Christmas ad that’s running in the London tube for Dixons.

How many times have I stood at a bus stop, or sat glumly on the subway and bemoaned the lack of anything decent to occupy my brain. I can look at people picking their noses or nodding off, or I can look at ads.  But the ads tend to act as traditional posters. Headline, visual, logo. So within 3 seconds I’m done and looking for something else.

Perfect place for me to read on, really. To be entertained during my interminable wait. But these environments (inside a taxi is another that springs to mind) get treated like traditional outdoor media where God Himself ruled that less is more.

I subscribe to this old adage, put down by Howard Gossage: “People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”

Or sometimes it’s a blog. And if the writer is any good, if the environment is right, if the message is interesting, then the audience should hang in there until the end. And get the picture, which is the point of all advertising, or indeed writing.

Please let me know you made it this far by clicking here. Thank you for reading. The End.

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4 Responses to “A simple copywriting test”

  1. amy@turbinecreative.com December 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Ahhh The English. They’ll be the last to give up on the language.

    However, you have inspired me to re-think toilet advertising because if there ever was a place desperate for a great read–that would it. I’m going to call Zoom media and tell them to order bigger frames.

  2. Andrew Hall December 4, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    Clever! I made it.

    Very similar to the comment from my accounting professor yesterday about tests that went around in “[her] day” where you would get full points for heeding a warning to read to the end and not making a single mark on the paper, instead of writing the difficult test all the way through.

  3. Alex December 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    I think your results might be compromised. Your hidden page showed up in my feed reader.

  4. dougbrowncreative December 4, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Amy: You won’t likely know this (I hope) but some restaurants put a page of the newspaper in front of the gents’ faces at the urinals already….usually the sports.

    Andrew: I think I had her for Economics in my freshman year.

    Alex: You can see the page but not the results. Unless you’ve cracked our secret code!

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