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Ad Copywriting Part 2

Media Writing - Lecture Notes Week 12


Just a little bit more on copywriting
Headlines
Taglines

Elements of ads
Headline
Sub-headline
Body copy
Slogan
Visual
= ALL work together cohesively
Basic elements of an (print) Ad

Other elements
Sub-headline (if necessary)
Kicker: the final sentence
that gives them the
information they want,
compliments the audience
or reinforces their behavior
as product users.
Visual
Body copy
Logo/address
Slogan
Headline
Headlines
Purpose of the headlines is to grab the readers
attention.
Headlines promise the consumer a benefit.
Headlines relate to the product.
Headlines are lively and full of authority.
They tie in well with the opening of the body copy.



Subheads
Subheadlines (subheads) are used to support hanging
headlines.
Smaller in (font) size than headlines.
Possibly longer in length than headlines.
Support and reinforce the headlines message.
Include important information not communicated in the
headline.
Communicate key selling points or information quickly.
Stimulate more complete reading of the whole ad.

The longer the body copy, the more appropriate is the
use of subheads.

Where to start: Body copy or Headline first?
Depends on you:
Some work on headlines and visuals first.
Some write text to see what develops and once the
headline appears, the body copy text is re-written to
fit the headline.

Whatever you do, THINK VISUALLY
Remember that basically all advertising is a
relationship between language and imagery: words are
tied to pictures.
Writing Headlines: Think Visually
What is the Strategy? Your Big Selling Idea? What is the
overall objective of the Ad? The tone? Brand character?
Any mandatories?

Visualise the product performing, being used etc.

Visualise the user, the benefit, the value, the action you
want the prospects to take etc.

Put all these together in a dramatic or appealing way.
Types of Headlines
1. Present news
Its new, now, improved, etc.

2. Make a (brand/product) claim (on benefits/values)
Whats good, better, best etc.
What you get
How you feel

3. Identify the brand/product
This is what I am selling
This is the product
This is the brand value

4. Offer advice (to the target prospects)
Take it from us.
Did you know?



Types of Headlines (cont)
5. Inspire curiosity
What does it mean?
Really?!

6. Give a command
Do and you will receive.

7. Offer a challenge
Try it.
Make a change.

8. Establish tone and emotion
Evokes empathy, shock, guilt, joy etc.
Headlines that Command

Headlines that Give Advice
Headlines that Present News
Headlines that Give Benefits/Make a
Claim
Headlines that Identify the
Brand
Headlines that Inspire Curiosity
Headlines that Offers a Challenge
Headlines that Establishes a tone
An Unsuccessful Headline
could be one that
Aroused curiosity but nothing else
Did not appeal to target prospects
Did not relate to product or brand
Did not work well with visual and body copy
Focused on negative instead of positive
Was not credible/believable/convincing
Was not specific (too vague)



Slogans/Taglines
The slogan (or tagline) is like a closing headline that lives
on for a long time.

A good slogan is
Brief
Concise
Memorable
Encapsulates the brand image
Inspires belief, action, or both

When in doubt about the slogan
Sell
Use the U.S.P.
Writing Slogans
A good slogan:
Conveys a product or brands major characteristics to
the target market.
Responds to the customers expectations of the
product.
Presents an image or personality of the product or
brand.
States ONE compelling idea.
Should not be similar to the slogans already created
for other products and brands.
Examples of Slogans/Taglines
Just Do It (Nike)
Now Everyone Can Fly (Air Asia)
Expect More. Pay Less. (Target)
The World on Time (Fed Ex)
Have a Break Have a Kit Kat (Kit Kat)
Always the Smarter Choice (Digi)
Connecting People (Nokia)


Ethical and Legal issues in
Media Writing
Defamation
Harming someones reputation by exposing him or her to
contempt, hatred, ridicule or spite.

It can result in large damage against media companies and the
possibility of lost employment for writers and editors.

Defamation Law regards a persons reputation as a piece of his or
her property.

It can be slander (transitory, i.e. spoken or gestures) or libel
(written or in permanent form including broadcast content).

Defamation law provides a check for media power.
In Malaysia
Under the DEFAMATION ACT 1957

Details:
http://www.agc.gov.my/Akta/Vol.%206/Act%20286.pdf
The Plaintiffs Case
Publication
The libelous statement must be published. Either print,
TV, radio, letter, or the Internet.
Identification
Identify the libelous person.
Defamation
Prove that the story IS about that person and has
harmed his/her reputation.
Classic areas include false statements about
1. Political beliefs
2. Illness
3. Business practices/professional competence
4. Criminal activity (using the word allegedly may
not save you)
Fault
Plaintiff must show how the writer was at fault in some way.
Most of the time its negligent/carelessness until its proven
as actual malice.

Damages
Plaintiff must prove that he/she has been harmed in some
way. Damages can be shown, such as revenues decreased,
broken contracts, dismissed from work etc.
Red flag Words
adulterer
AIDS victim
alcoholic
ambulance chaser
atheist
attempted suicide
bad morals
bankrupt
bigamist
blackmail
bordello
briber
brothel
cheat
collusion
communist
con man
corrupt
coward
drunk
death-merchant
divorced (when not)
drug addict
druggie
embezzler
ex-convict
fascist
fink
fixed game
fool
fornicator
fraud
gambling house
gangster
gay
grafter
herpes
hit-man
homosexual
hypocrite
illegitimate
illicit relations
incest
incompetent
infidelity
influence peddler
informer
insane
intemperate
intimate
Jekyll-Hyde personality
junkie
kept woman
Ku Klux Klan
lewd
lascivious
liar
mental disease
mental
incompetent
molester
moral degenerate
murderer
Nazi
paramour
paranoid
peeping Tom
perjurer
pervert
pimp
plagiarist
price cutter
profiteer
pockets public funds
prostitute
rapist
recidivist
rogue
sadist
scam-artist
scandal monger
scoundrel
seducer
short in accounts
shyster
sneak
stuffed ballot boxes
underworld connections
unethical
unmarried mother
unprofessional
unsound mind
vice den
villain
viper
Important rule to media writers
To avoid defamation suits:
State facts
Do not make conclusions

E.g.
Instead of saying that some one is corrupt, it is better to say the
person failed to respond to an allegation that he had received a
sum of money from a contractor.

Or instead of saying that there was a cover-up of certain cases by
the police, it is safer to say that the case remained dormant and
unsolved for many years despite leads provided by the public.

Source: 2008. Facing up to libel suits, The Sunday Star, 01 June.
Copyright & Trademarks
Copyright acts as an incentive to creators.

The law states the work(s) must be fixed in a tangible
medium. This means it must exist in some relatively
permanent form. Paper, radio, canvas, film, even hard
drive.

Ideas or events cannot be copyrighted.

Corporate Copyright: Who owns the copyright when a
writer creates work as an employee?
End