Start with a rough draft.   In that first draft the goal is to put something-anything on paper, the emotional outpouring of everything you are trying to convey about your product or service. Don’t worry about how it reads. Just get it down onto something you can work with like a computer screen or a piece of paper and then go from there.

I would ask my students to define the purpose of each element in an advertisement. The following is what we finally decided:

  1. Headline: To get your attention and draw you to the subheadline.
  2. Subheadline: To give you more information and further explain the attention-getting headline.
  3. Photo or Drawing: To get your attention and to illustrate the product more fully.
  4. Caption: To describe the photo or drawing. An important element and one that is often read.
  5. Copy: To convey the main selling message for your product or service
  6. Paragraph Headings: To break up the copy into chunks, thereby making the copy look less imposing.
  7. Logo: To display the name of the company selling the product.
  8. Price: To let the reader know what the product or service costs. The price could be in large type or could be buried in the copy.
  9. Response Device: To give the reader a way to respond to the ad, by using the coupon, toll-free number or ordering information. Usually near the end of the ad.

All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sentence of the copy.