All the elements in an advertisement are simply there to get you to read the first sentence of the copy.
The ad has all the elements you would expect any space ad to have. And to understand this first axiom, I would ask my students to define the purpose of each element in an advertisement. The following is what we finally decided:
1. Headline: To get your attention and draw you to the subheadline.
2. Subheadline: To give you more information and further explain the attention-getting headline.
3. Photo or Drawing: To get your attention and to illustrate the product more fully.
4. Caption: To describe the photo or drawing. An important element and one that is often read.
5. Copy: To convey the main selling message for your product or service.
6. Paragraph Headings: To break up the copy into chunks, thereby making the copy look less imposing.
7. Logo: To display the name of the company selling the product.
8. Price: To let the reader know what the product or service costs. The price could be in large type or could be buried in the copy.
9. Response Device: To give the reader a way to respond to the ad, by using the coupon, toll-free number or ordering information, usually near the end of the ad.
10. Overall Layout: To provide the overall appearance for the ad, by using effective graphic design for the other elements.
All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only:
get you to read the first sentence of the copy.
At this point, there was usually a confused look on the faces of my students.
They thought that each of these elements had its own reason for existence. But I was saying, “No, they are there strictly for the sole purpose of get ting you to read the first sentence.”
I know what you’re thinking. “What about the headline? Isn’t it supposed to be 16 words long and what about . . .”
Just accept my word at this point that each element (of an ad or copy) has a single purpose and that is to get you to read the first sentence.
If somebody asked you for the main purpose of the logo in an advertisement, you could answer, “to establish the corporate integrity of the company selling the product,” or you could answer, “to provide a degree of continuity.” But the real answer is to get you to read the copy.
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters and Mail Order Entrepreneurs by Joseph Sugarman
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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