In writing copy for an advertisement, often you get your reader in an emotional frame of mind as a result of the environment you have created, and logic becomes less important.

If you can understand and learn this single point, you will have mastered a major lesson in writing good advertising copy. Never sell a product or service. Always sell a concept.

  • What do I mean by ‘concept’? There are many words that mean the same thing.
  • One day, for example, the hot buzzword in advertising might be ‘positioning’. A product is positioned or placed in such a way as to appeal to the consumer.

Or take the example of the Pocket Yellow Pages I referred to in the previous chapter. Doesn’t that name express everything you really need to know about the product in a simple concept? In that ad, I didn’t sell the product, but rather the concept of standing in a phone booth and pulling out an electronic directory to the surprise and delight of those around you.

  • Another example was a smoke detector I was selling. Instead of selling it as a smoke detector, the headline screamed, “Nose”-a product that just sat on your ceiling and sniffed the air. It sold quite well.

Copy is never too long if the reader takes the action you request. Therefore, it can’t be dull, it must be compelling, it must relate to the reader and, finally, it’s got to be about something the reader is interested in.

What we’re talking about here is the slippery slide concept.  There was an old adage about copy length: “Copy is like a woman’s skirt. It should be long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to make it interesting.”

  • Let’s use the same example of the salesperson visiting a prospect that we used earlier in this book on page 35. But this time, the salesperson appears for the appointment and the prospect explains that he can’t meet for 45 minutes because he is in the middle of a budget session. Could the salesperson make the presentation in 15 minutes?
    • What would you do? A good salesperson would make a new appointment.  If the sales presentation takes an hour, then it should be an hour long.  Not more and not 15 minutes.

Why not make your letters more personal and diresf-rns1e like one person talking to another in a direct and eyeball-to-eyeballs sort of folksy way?  As long as you use words like ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’, you create the feel of a personal form of communication.

  • The image I conveyed was not that of a very large, impersonal corporation filling the needs of its membership but that of a bunch of hard-working people, of all ethnic backgrounds, working together in harmony to make the company a success.
  • The company had to be portrayed as being small. That was essential for the concept.
Every communication should be a personal one, from the writer to the recipient, regardless of the medium used.