How Original Should Your Headlines and Slogans Be?By: Lisa Lake
When trying to come up with an ad slogan or headline, do certain familiar phrases leap to mind? Phrases that have been used a million times, like "Three Easy Ways...," "Introducing the New and Improved...," "Service With a Smile," or others like them?
In an attempt to maintain originality and set your business apart from its competitors, your first instinct may be to squash these done to death phrases and go for something fresh and new.
What you need to consider is the reason these cliche, standby phrases are so frequently used. Advertisers continue to incorporate overdone phrases into ad copy because they are effective. And as long as an advertising technique elicits the desired results, advertisers will use it.
People love their familiar comfort zones so much that it can difficult for them to go outside those comfort zones. Familiar advertising phrases and headlines are simply another comfort zone for your audience. They recognize a phrase and appreciate the fact that they don't have to think about what you are trying to communicate. They know exactly what you offer and whether they want to take advantage of your offer.
Mail-order copywriter John Tighe points out, "We are not in the business of being original. We are in the business of reusing things that work."
Advertisers and marketers follow certain rules and reuse old standbys, not because they can't come up with anything original, but because old standards continue to prove effective in thousands of letters, brochures, ads, and commercials.
Now, that doesn't mean that you should just copy what someone else did word for word. In creating your own advertising copy, the challenge you face is to take what has worked in the past and incorporate it into your campaign in a way that is compelling, memorable, and persuasive.
Your first and most important priority in creating advertising headlines, slogans, and copy is to sell, not to exercise your creative genius. But if you can do both at the same time, then you will have a powerful piece of advertising copy.
© 2002 Lisa Lake
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.