Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ripping a New Ad

I just recorded my October radio ad. Here is the ad copy...

They gave up on you. They dropped layaway. They dropped a friendly knowledgeable sales staff. They even dropped classic toys like wooden building blocks. Oh, sure, they brought back layaway, but only for a fee. Our layaway is still free. So is our giftwrapping. And with over five times as many toys as any of our local competitors, why would you shop anywhere else? We’ve always been here for you. Toy House and Baby Too in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.

There are five things that turn okay ads into great ads.


  1. Make only one point

  2. Speak to the heart of the customer

  3. Speak more of the customer than you do of yourself

  4. Back up all your claims with evidence

  5. Tell a story
Let's break this ad down and see how it does...

Make Only One Point
This ad is what is known as a contrast ad, designed to contrast one business with another. In this case I use multiple examples to make the point that they don't care about you, we do. I open with that point - They gave up on you - and close with that point - We've always been here for you. This message is consistent with our Character Diamond, focusing on the core value HELPFUL.

Speak to the Heart
On this I could have done better. Contrast ads, however, are about information more than emotion. Still, for effect I added emotion into the line, Oh sure, they brought back layaway, but only for a fee. Sometimes emotion is in how you read it as much as in what you say.

Speak More of the Customer
Here is the same copy but with the key words highlighted...

They gave up on you. They dropped layaway. They dropped a friendly knowledgeable sales staff. They even dropped classic toys like wooden building blocks. Oh, sure, they brought back layaway, but only for a fee. Our layaway is still free. So is our giftwrapping. And with over five times as many toys as any of our local competitors, why would you shop anywhere else? We’ve always been here for you. Toy House and Baby Too in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.

On this point I did not do well. Spoke of myself six times and the customer four times (and the competitor five times). How could I have spoken more of the customer? Hint: each of the "They" sentences could have included a "you". Oh sure, they brought back layaway for you, but only if you pay a fee.

Back Up Your Claims
My big claim is that they gave up on you. To support that claim I point out how they dropped layaway and only brought it back with a fee. I also point out how they stopped carrying certain toys.

The only unsupported claim I made was about the friendly, knowledgeable staff. This point is a matter of opinion. Without evidence to back that up I am taking a risk that people will not believe my ad. Those people who believe my competitors do offer great service will dismiss my ad.

In this case I am banking on two things. First, that most people generally believe that my competitors have lousy customer service. This is called assumptive reasoning. Second, that because I backed up my main point, people will believe this secondary claim.

Note: The final claim I make - that we carry five times as many toys - is also not backed up by evidence. But mainly because the evidence is in the store. No one would expect me to count it all for them on the air. But since I give a specific number like five as opposed to saying "way more" or "much more" the claim is more believable. Listeners expect that I have done the math before making a claim like that. And I have. It is true.

Tell a Story
Stories are powerful. Many of my radio ads paint mental pictures for the listener. The mental image for this ad is how my competitors are giving up services while we still have them. Although not as powerful of an emotional story as I have written before, this ad is a good alternative because contrast helps lay the foundation for making future stories believable.

Here is an ad I wrote with a much more powerful story...


You do not have to be a fantastic copywriter to write quality ad copy. Just stick to the five points above and your ads will resonate far better than the boring look at me ads most stores run.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com


PS I gave myself a B for this ad. But it is also part of the bigger picture. Sometimes I use certain ad styles today to set up ads for tomorrow. When you have a long horizon view, a long timeline for your business, you will make different decisions than if you only worry about the here and now.

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