Principles of Great Copywriting

Writing great copy doesn’t just “happen.” Contrary to the romantic fantasy, most great ads are not thunderstruck bolts of lightning; rather, it’s far more prosaic. Ads come from research, dedication, testing, and practice. Here are some of the key elements to producing great ads:

  • Identifying the target audience: Knowing who the ad is meant for will help you craft language and messaging that will resonate with them.
  • Creating a clear and compelling headline: The headline is the first thing people will see, so it’s important to make it attention-grabbing and informative.
  • Highlighting the unique value proposition: Make sure the ad clearly communicates what sets your product or service apart from competitors.
  • Using persuasive language: Use words and phrases that will motivate the reader to take action, such as “limited time offer” or “exclusive deal.”
  • Use emotional triggers: Ad copy that evokes emotions is more likely to be remembered and acted upon. Use words and phrases that will create an emotional connection with your target audience.
  • Keeping it simple and easy to read: Avoid using jargon or complex language, and use short, simple sentences and bullet points to make the ad easy to read and understand.
  • A/B testing: Try different versions of the ad and see which one performs the best. (This one is, perhaps, the most sadly un-romantic of them all–but it’s the truth, we’re sorry to say.)
  • Use compelling and creative images, videos and other multimedia: These are proven to grab the attention of people and make them more likely to engage with the ad.
  • Use humor: Humor can be a great tool to make your ad memorable and to create a positive association with your brand, use it in a way that is consistent with your brand’s personality.
  • Make it actionable with a strong Call-To-Action (CTA): Unlike in the Great American Novel, a strong ad needs to include a clear and actionable call-to-action that tells the reader what they should do next.

So as you can see, there’s a lot more than just coffee and booze that goes into writing effective ads (though for many of us, it helps).

Let’s See Some Examples of Great Ads

But don’t just take our word for it. Here are a few examples of some of effective advertising slogans, and why they are considered to be so strong:

  • “Just Do It” – Nike: This slogan has become synonymous with the brand and is considered one of the most successful and iconic advertising campaigns of all time. It is simple, memorable, and inspires people to take action.
  • “Think Different” – Apple: This ad campaign, which ran in the late 1990s, positioned Apple as a forward-thinking and innovative company. The ads featured black-and-white photos of famous historical figures, along with the tagline “Think Different.” This campaign helped to re-establish Apple as a leader in the technology industry.
  • “The Happiest Place on Earth” – Disneyland: This ad campaign, which began in the 1950s, helped establish Disneyland as the premier theme park destination in the world. The catchy slogan, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” along with the image of Mickey Mouse, helped to create a strong emotional connection with audiences.
  • “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” – M&Ms: This simple and clever line, which was first introduced in the early 1950s, helped to differentiate M&Ms from other chocolate candies. The ad campaign was able to create an emotional connection with the consumers that still works today.
  • “Where’s the beef?” – Wendy’s: This ad campaign, which was first introduced in 1984, helped Wendy’s to position itself as a fast food restaurant that offered a higher-quality product than its competitors. The catchphrase “Where’s the beef?” was used to highlight the size of Wendy’s burgers compared to those of its competitors.
  • “Got milk?” – California Milk Processor Board: This ad campaign, which first aired in 1993, featured a series of commercials that used humor to communicate the message that milk is an essential part of a healthy diet. The ads were memorable and helped to increase milk consumption.
  • “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” – Life Alert: This ad campaign, which first aired in 1989, featured a series of commercials that used humor to communicate the message that Life Alert is a reliable and dependable medical alert system. The phrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” became a cultural catchphrase and helped to establish the brand.

All of these ads were memorable and had a clear message, they were able to connect emotionally with audiences and make a lasting impression. They also helped to establish the brands they represent as leaders in their respective industries.

And think about it – some of these companies (Apple and Nike, for example) are among the largest companies in the world; nay, in world history. Ever.

Creative: Copy vs. Image

So we’ve discussed the importance of writing, but now you’re probably wondering: what’s more important, the ad copy or the visual graphic creative?

Well, sad to say (though I’m sure you can guess what we’re going to say): both ad copy and visual graphic creative are important in advertising. The importance of each, however, will vary depending on the ad and the campaign.

Ad copy is the written or spoken text in an ad. It is important because it communicates the message and the unique value proposition of the product or service being advertised. Ad copy should be clear, concise, and persuasive.

Visual graphic creative is the visual design of an ad, such as images, videos, and graphics. It is important because it can help to grab the attention of the viewer and make the ad more engaging. Visuals can also help to convey the message and create an emotional connection with the audience.

In general, for most types of ads, a combination of strong ad copy and visual graphic creative is likely to be the most effective. The ad copy should communicate the message clearly and the visual should be used to grab the attention of the viewer and make the ad more engaging.

For example, a print ad for a luxury car brand would likely need high-quality photographs of the car, along with persuasive and elegant ad copy to sell the car. However, a poster for a music festival would need a visually striking design and a catchy tagline.

Think about your own brand, product, service, call to action, and strategy: what’s going to get your potential audience to take action?

Why Hire An Ad Agency

Small businesses have the option to hire ad agencies to write copy for them or to do it themselves. Both options have their own benefits and drawbacks.

Hiring an ad agency to write copy for a small business can be beneficial because:

  • Ad agencies (such as Mandel Marketing) have professional copywriters who are experienced in crafting effective ad copy. We know what works and what doesn’t and have the skills to make your ad stand out from the competition.
  • Ad agencies have access to research and analytics that can help them understand your target audience and craft messages that will resonate with them.
  • Ad agencies can provide a fresh perspective and bring new ideas to the table.

However, hiring an ad agency can also be costly, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. In addition, small businesses may also find that they lose some control over the creative process. So what are the benefits of doing it yourself?

  • Small businesses can save money by not having to pay for an ad agency.
  • More control over the creative process and ensure that their message is communicated in the way they want.
  • Small business owners are often closer to the target audience than an agency, and they might have a better understanding of the customers and their language, this can be valuable when crafting the ad copy.

However, you may find that writing ad copy yourself can be time-consuming and may not have the same level of expertise or resources as an ad agency. We think your best best is to contact an agency for a free consultation, and discuss the options.

Speaking of which… contact Mandel Marketing today with this form, or send us a note at – we hope you’ve found this helpful!