Powerful Ad Copy
Can Make You Drool
Over a Bar of Bath Soap
Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™
Copyright MMII Drew Eric Whitman. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without
prior written permission from Drew Eric Whitman
I have a headful of hair.
And it's a good thing, too.
Because every so often I have a
"discussion" with someone that leads me to rip much of it out.
I just got off the phone with a
friend who I'm helping put together a brochure. He and his wife
sell homemade soap. Very nice soaps, actually. Beautiful colors
and fragrances. Some look like nice big, juicy hunks of
watermelon. Others resemble fresh orange slices... bright lemon
meaty chunks of coconut. Yum.
(Do you see what PVA's-powerful
Visual Adjectives-can do to your copy, regardless of the
OK.. back to my hair ripping.
Oh, what the heck.... here's the
dialogue, as I remember it...
Hey George... you guys have some wonderful soaps here. These
fruity soaps are especially appealing. But why just say,
"Orange-Scented Bar Soap?" Or, "Coconut-Scented
Bar Soap?" Why not really get into it?
Why not compare the soaps to the
freshest, juiciest slices of Mandarin or Florida oranges?
Why not talk about how washing
your face with it is like splashing your skin with liquid
How the aroma reminds you of
walking in the sunny, breezy orange fields of Florida?
And your coconut soap! Yum! Why
just say, "Smells like coconut"? Why not compare it to
the freshly cut coconuts in the sun-soaked western Caribbean...
reminiscent of the milky white meaty centers and the sweet,
GEORGE: That seems a
little over the top, don't you think? After all, we're not
selling food... we're selling SOAP!
DREW: UGH. (To myself.) Of
course you're selling SOAP, George, but you want to create some
romance... some imagery... something that people can latch onto.
It's called SELLING.
GEORGE: All that doesn't
DREW: NECESSARY? NECESSARY?!
It's not NECESSARY to sell soap, George! But if you ARE going to
do it, why not do it well? Why not do it
"aggressively?" Why not do more than your competition
is doing? You're not the ONLY one in this business, you know.
DREW: I want you to make a
fortune with these soaps. They're great! But you need to do MORE
competition. Don't you want to stand apart... stand out?
GEORGE: Well, if doing
what you're saying was so great, why doesn't anyone else do it?
DREW: Why does McDonalds
sell billions of dollars worth of burgers? It doesn't mean the
people who eat all that cow grease are smart. It means they're
simply doing what they're doing.
You can't go through life saying,
"If others aren't doing it, why should I?" Most people
DON'T do things the best possible way. They do what they THINK
is best. And since most businesspeople don't know much about
creating effective advertising, they DON'T do what could be most
GEORGE: (Thinking.) (It
sounds like a field of crickets.)
DREW: George, listen to
GEORGE: I AM listening!
DREW: You're selling
specialized soap. You're not selling Ivory. Or Zest. Or Irish
Spring. You're selling EXPENSIVE
soap that has 2 things going for it:
1) It's visually beautiful,
2) It smells delicious.
To NOT play up the 2 things that
make your soap so appealing is MISSING THE BOAT!
People don't buy your soap
because they simply need to get clean. They can get clean a lot
more cheaply with a bar of plain old, eyeball-burnin' Ivory.
(Ever get Ivory in your eyes?
Death seems merciful.)
GEORGE: Yes... but....
people will know how it smells WHEN THEY BUY IT. Plus, everyone
knows what oranges, coconuts and lemons smell like. They smell
like oranges, coconuts and lemons.
DREW: Dear God help me.
GEORGE: ... so why take
all that space to describe it to people who already know?
DREW: Because it helps
Look at it this way: if someone
sees your brochure... and that someone likes the smell of
oranges... then she is going to be romanced by a description
that's in keeping with what she likes.
(Read that again.)
It helps her imagine! It takes up
more "space" in her brain by creating a mental movie
of the product! Describe the juicy wedges... the sunny fields...
the handpicking that goes on in the orchards... that sweet
bursting of aroma when you peel one.
And don't stop there!
Create a deep mental hook with a phrase she won't be able to
shake. Something like: "The Orange-Juicy Way to Wash!"
or something similar. Don't call it "lather," call it
"Sweet Orange-Cream Bubbles."
But won't people think that's a little manipulative?
DREW: It IS manipulative.
And NO, they won't think that.
Besides, ADVERTISING IS
MANIPULATIVE! We manipulate people's thoughts. That's what it's
It's not EVIL, unless you're
selling junk and your claims are misleading or downright false.
It's all about sales, George. And
there are degrees of selling.
Hey, let's face it: you can call
yourself a SELLER if you simply have something you'll exchange
for money. Or, you can be a SKILLED seller and incorporate those
things that have been PROVEN to encourage people to buy. It's
GEORGE: I hear what you're
saying, DREW... but all those fancy descriptions. I can't
get over the fact that we're just selling soap to use those
kinds of descriptions.
DREW: (Looking at watch)
Well, George... that's my advice. And I've been doing this for
only 20 years. I'm sure you'll do whatever you feel is right for
you. Gotta run!
DREW: (The sound of
ripping brown hair.)
Until we "meet" again
in the next lesson, consider this quote from Emerson:
the illusions of life
is that the present hour is not
the critical, decisive hour.
Write it on your heart that every day
is the best day of the year."
Success to you, my friend!
Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon(tm)
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