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Copy Writing - Don't Overlook The Obvious

The other day, I was getting ready for a spot of TV viewing (such excitement in store!), so I nipped out to the convenience store for a pizza. But it was no ordinary pizza.

It was a buffalo mozzarella and rustic tomato hand stretched Tuscan pizza. It had a traditional hand stretched Tuscan base. It was also hand finished with torn buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto and Italian rustic sun dried tomatoes all topped off with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Boy, doesn't that make your mouth water? You can almost feel the heat of the Tuscan afternoon and smell the basil and the pine nuts in the pesto, as the Italian mama prepares this sumptuous dish in her rustic farmhouse kitchen.

I should also add this pizza cost just about double the price of the "ordinary" pizza -- but how could you resist it? Not only I, but plenty of others were choosing this pizza over the ordinary one. Little wonder this convenience store is part of the most successful chain in the country. Not only are they employing great copy writing techniques on their own products, they also have the pizza market well covered: both the high end, "hand stretched Tuscan", market and the "ordinary" market.

The interesting fact, from the copy writing point of view, is they have given tons of features and left the benefit to your taste buds. The entire and clear implication of the copy writing was shouting: "This will taste great!" It's so obvious.

Yet, oftentimes, when writing copy, we overlook the obvious.

There is a story about a New York copywriter, Oliver Adams. He grew up in New England in a grocery store his parents owned. When aged twelve, his father died and he began to work full time in the store. A few years later, the store was sold and he moved to New York where he worked in a market during the day and continued his education at night school.

One day he chanced to hear a talk by James B Oswald, then head of New York's largest advertising agency. The following day Adams visited Oswald in his office and told him he was so inspired by Oswald's talk, he intended to work for him.

So impressed was Oswald with Adams's direct, obvious and no frills approach he gave him a job as a filing clerk. But it wasn't long before Adams discovered the copywriters and vowed to become one. At the time the company were working on a big campaign for a peach canner. The copywriters were having a great struggle to come up with an original approach, when one day the head copywriter chanced to spot Adams's idea for the campaign. It was crushingly simple, yet very effective.

The headline read: "Six Minutes From Orchard To Can" and went on to a list of bullet points, detailing the steps taken by the peaches in the short journey from tree to can:

Picked ripe from the tree. Sorted by girls in clean white uniforms. Peeled and packed into cans by sanitary machines. Cooked by clean, live steam. Sealed airtight. Sent to your grocer for you -- at 30 cents a can.

It was the clean, simple idea the whole team of professional copywriters had struggled to find for weeks.

It wasn't long before Adams was head of the copy writing department and not too long before he was president of the company.

What was his secret?Well, it's obvious really. He would find out everything there was about the product and then tell the customer about it.

His approach was at the same time, obvious and revolutionary. As a result he became known as "Obvious Adams".

One day he arranged a campaign for a paper mill. The copy went into great detail about how the paper was made partially from rags, using only the purest filtered water and how the sheets of paper were carefully dried in an air conditioned loft and then every sheet was carefully inspected by an eagle-eyed quality controller.

When the owner of the paper mill read the copy writing, he instantly rejected it, saying he'd be the laughing stock of every paper mill owner in the country, because they all made their paper that way.

Adams simply pointed out the copy had not been written for other paper mill owners, but for potential customers of his paper mill. Needless to say, the owner changed his mind, the campaign went ahead and was the most successful in the paper mill's history.

So always remember to state the obvious in your copy. If you are writing copy for someone else, always take time to research their product thoroughly. Ironically, the biggest danger is writing copy for your own products. Why? Because, just like the paper mill ownerComputer Technology Articles, you are likely to dismiss its features as too obvious to mention. That could be a big mistake!

Article Tags: Hand Stretched Tuscan, Copy Writing, Hand Stretched, Stretched Tuscan, Writing Copy, Long Before, Paper Mill

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