Magazine Advertising Copy
Yoshitaka Kanakubo, Nick Leung, and Madeline Yacoe
Many successful advertisements capture a reader’s attention by deliberately contradicting expectations. This convention of nonconformity rewards creativity and exploration, but discourages strict regulations. The genre of promoting ideas or products changes constantly, as innovative ads continually replace yesterday’s stale traditions. This evolution is what complicates our job of defining precise strategies for writing successful ads. Popular magazines commonly feature full-page color ads. These often depict modern culture, relate to current events, and reflect the mindset of the period. Magazine ads do more ...view middle of the document...
Ads can direct readers to visit websites, buy products, form opinions, or think positively about an advertiser. Successful advertising copy is difficult to write because it must appeal to your ideal reader’s attention in less than 4 seconds, the time that most readers’ eyes spend on a given magazine page. In those four seconds, seven out of 10 people will read the headline of an ad, three out of 10 will continue reading, and fewer still will buy the advertised product, says advertising expert Murray Raphel.
YOSHITAKA KANAKUBO, NICK LEUNG, & MADELINE YACOE
Before composing advertising copy, writers decide on a goal and develop a strategy for achieving it. They define a copy platform, which is a few paragraphs describing what the copy will say, and how. A copy platform should specify the ad’s medium, message, and ideal market, as well as its tone, mood, voice, and length. It should also explain why these decisions help achieve the advertiser’s goal. The following two sections discuss visual and textual rhetorical strategies commonly used in ad writing. In addition to describing the wording of an ad, we decided to explain the use of visuals and layouts because copy cannot be separated from its surroundings. It only makes sense in its context. Below, the ‘Standard Text’ section gives guidelines for writing typical ad copy, and the ‘Variation Text’ section describes effective ways to implement creative techniques. The guidelines we give are suggestions, not rules, and we encourage you to purposefully explore other methods as well. Have fun!
Conventional ads are effective because they appear familiar and trustworthy to the reader. Readers already know what to expect from the ad, so they can easily identify its purpose and message. Conventional ads are likely to draw some reader response, but are usually not the most successful ad in a magazine. They are a safe option for the writer because they are known to be effective. To create standard ads, you must understand and follow the customary techniques of the style. This section will provide you with the main concepts you’ll need to understand before you write, and also an explanation of how to use the elements in the ad to your advantage.
We wanted to understand how successful ads communicate with their audience. So, we chose ads that caught our eye, analyzed the qualities they shared, and identified the following seven techniques.
K no w th e m ed iu m a n d t h e st yl e .
Study other magazine ads to familiarize yourself with this style of advertising. Ads in business magazines should be professional, while ads in adventure magazines should be fun and inspirational. Magazine ads that are well-fitted will interact constructively with the other ads and articles in the magazine.
Ta lk to you r au di en ce , no t a t th em (Don ’t prea ch).
Write as if you’re addressing one person instead of a mass of people. Use the words ‘you’ and...