REALITY IN ADVERTISING

Reeves insisted that an advertisement or commercial should showcase what he called the unique selling proposition (USP) of a product, not the cleverness or humor of a copywriter.

His ads were focused around the USP that highlighted the one reason the product needed to be bought or was better than its competitors.

Reeves pointed out that to work, advertising had to be honest. He insisted the product being sold actually be superior, and argued that no amount of advertising could move inferior goods.

My theory of copywriting is to stick to reality.

    My theory is nothing new. I’m following the lead of Rosser Reeves, whose REALITY IN ADVERTISING pioneered the idea of the Unique Sales Proposition (USP).

     My experience in the ad industry is that the writers are eager to write ads about something else instead of doing the hard work of probing to define the core strengths of the product. It’s far easier to write about a talking gecko, because anything goes. You’ve already abandoned reality.

     I’ve been looking at the sites of smaller technical and industrial companies who don’t have two billion in their marketing budget for an animated gecko. I see strong young companies whose websites are masking their virtues by self-inflating themselves with the same set of buzzwords everybody else is using. By removing one or two industry-specific words from their text, it becomes indistinguishable from the text used in a myriad of different industries.

     For some companies, their USP is a proprietary secret. They want to keep their information to themselves. They have an attitude of security and secrecy and NDA agreements. Then, when it is time to advertise, when it’s time to spread the word, that attitude impedes them.

What can a copywriter do for you.

    My usual methodology is to study you and your technology and learn what your strengths are. I examine what your competitors are doing. Whatever they are offering, I’ll find something about you that is different from what they are saying.

    Often, I discover that everybody else in a sector is making the same claims and the same offers. Step outside of those areas and say something fresh and true, and the customers pay attention.

     I develop a clear logical description of what your company does and why it is better than the competition, written so that anybody can understand it.

     Truth sells best. Fakery can get you a brief initial bloom of sales but then reality sets in and sales crater.

     To advertise: to make widely known.

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