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Portfolio » The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Copy

In advertising, our version of conducting a scientific experiment is writing copy. This process involves creating a final product where the copy is able to assist in the overall effectiveness of an advertisement.

Where adding too much of a specific chemical can cause an explosion, forcing the creation of a new word or an inappropriate message can result in disaster. While I appreciate if you take my word for it, examples of good copy and bad copy do a better job of showing how crucial it is to display your message in the right light.

Good Copy:

With a phrase that seemed to be resting in the cliche´ graveyard, the Shatto Milk Company was able to bring “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” back to life. One key aspect of successful copywriting is the ability to transform a previous idea into one of your own.

This advertisement was able to do so by changing the ending of the phrase into a joke. While the humor was one contributing factor of this advertisement being an example of good copy, there was more. This line was immediately followed by “Screamingly good ice cream”, providing the product with a catchy and effective tagline. 

Bad Copy:

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After the face palms and eye-rolls, let us see why this is bad copy. Regional Brazilian beer Boca Maldita seems to be suggesting that when life gives you lemons, have a beer. Further reinforcing how this is an ineffective advertisement is the tagline; “Some days you just want to forget.” When writing copy, the reaction from your target audience is one of your top if not the highest priority. Promoting drinking after an upsetting experience could lead to members of the audience to be enraged and stop buying your product.

As a marketing scientist, you are constantly putting ideas together to see how well they can convey your message. While no experiment is completed in one attempt, using the strategies of others as well as your previous ideas can help turn it into a success over time.