Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Because" Copy is Best Because...

Every Baby Boomer loves a freebie, whether it’s a high-value coupon or the kind of psychosocial strokes that enhance the ego. You need to reward Boomers each time you communicate with them, and nothing does that better than effective “Because” copy that’s clear, concise, creative and cogent. Why? Because understanding something that’s truly meaningful is, in a way, its own reward to discerning Boomers.

“Because” copy is what great copywriting is all about. Whether it’s done in long-form, short bursts or terse bullets, it spells out the benefits for the audience in no uncertain terms.

For practical insight into how to write effective “Because” copy, study ads that have bullet points that go right to the heart of the matter. Appliance and automotive ads can be very instructive for two reasons: 1) some are outstanding, and 2) some are just awful.

Great bullet copy is only possible when the advertiser distills each feature/benefit into a clear, concise statement that’s meaningful and easy to grasp. Bad bullet copy shoots itself in the foot, because it tends to be self-admiring. It says, “Gee, look at all those features. Aren’t they swell?” This kind of copy, which is quite common, is a prime example of the company talking to itself, and although the corporate committee that wrote and approved it might love it, Boomers won’t pay it any mind.

Although “Because” copy is sell copy, it should never sound dull, labored or shrill. To be effective, it has to deftly communicate heavy meaning with a light touch. Good taste and writing skill will help you develop a style that allows you to express complex ideas in a clear, concise way, but it takes lots of practice. As James Michener said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

In the end, there’s no substitute for using just enough of the perfect words to say exactly what you mean. And that takes persistence, patience and a passion for effective communication.

To grasp the importance of “Because” copy, read a dozen advertising or marcom headlines that are presumably aimed at Boomers. Try to see things through their eyes and ask: “What’s in it for me?" Then do the same with each line of copy. Does the overall thrust of the communication have impact? Does it hit the Boomer where he or she really lives? As a Boomer, do you care about what’s being communicated? Are you puzzled by it? Or worse, are you simply bored? Bottom line: Can you tell what’s in it for you?

Do the same exercise with radio commercials, TV commercials, Twitters—any form of communication that’s knocking on the door of your consciousness.

Trying to see advertising and marcom as the Boomers see them, you’ll become increasingly aware of the grammar, vocabulary, sound and feel of effective “Because” copy. You’ll also become aware of how often advertisers miss the mark in terms of reaching and motivating the Boomers they covet.

Finally, if you want to see where you stand, put your own advertising and marcom to the acid test. Read it as if you were a disinterested Boomer, and be brutally honest. Is there enough “Because” copy to engage, inform, entertain and motivate you, or are you left wondering, “What’s in it for me?” The answers you give are crucial to your success, because…


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What necessary phrase... super, excellent idea