“A picture is worth a thousand words”… or not: Why advertising needs its copywriters.


Some wise old dicky-bird, probably with shares in the print/photography industry, once said that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Yeh, and next you’ll be telling me that soldiers taste as great without the warm, gooey yoke…

Advertising – print ads to be precise – needs to be captivating and eye catching… there are no two ways about it. But ads also need to be witty, hysterical or shocking – perhaps even all three?

It would be hard to achieve all that with just a picture.

Problem is, if your reader has turned the page without eliciting any kind of emotion or reaction to your ad, YOU’VE FAILED.

We live in a world where speed is of the essence… we don’t have time for anything that doesn’t grab us. Everything needs to be instant – instant coffee, instant messaging, even instant cash loans. So why should your advertising play by any other rules?

Pictures certainly have the power to catch your eye, but so have awesome headlines or short copy…

Here’s one I made earlier… to illustrate my point.

Don't just settle for dry toast

Here is a quick print ad exercise I did to underline the importance of copy in advertising. Without the copy you’re left with just an image – you wouldn’t just settle for just the toast if you’d ordered boiled egg and soldiers would you?

An image may dangle the bait tantalisingly in front of the readers eyes, but it’s the killer copy that’s going to land you the prize. Words will seal the deal – of that I’m sure.

I feel a case-study coming on. Let’s consider the picture above…

Imagine you’ve decided to pay a visit to your local upmarket cafe. You order the boiled egg and soldiers and wait eagerly for the home baked, white and crispy buttered toast, and the perfectly formed egg to arrive. After just ten minutes your eyes light up as you see the waitress emerge from the kitchen, but to your horror she’s carrying just a plate of toast – and it’s not even buttered.

As a paying customer, you’re left unsatisfied and you sure as hell won’t be recommending your experience to anyone.

DON’T JUST SETTLE FOR DRY TOAST. 

Just as your soldiers needs a good dollop of warm yoke running from the dipping end to your fingertips, great pictures need great words.

With print ads, the right copy can make a good picture a great picture. Why serve up only half of what you’re offering?

So again I return to my opening line: “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Well I’m not so sure, and neither should you if you’re an ad man.

Could a picture have summed up this now timeless adage?

In fact the phrase itself is probably more symbolic of the power of words, as opposed to imagery. Might it be fighting the good fight?

If you’re not convinced, peruse these great ads I’ve discovered – all showcase just how effective awesome copy can be.

It’s safe to say I now really want a Volkswagen Rabbit.

20130418-172633.jpg

20130418-172641.jpg

20130418-172648.jpg

20130418-172653.jpg

20130418-172658.jpg

20130418-172711.jpg

 

20130418-172722.jpg

20130418-172733.jpg

20130418-172738.jpg

Next time, I’m gonna try this challenge: Write a full page print ad for SNOW whitening toothpaste.

As they would say on TV, tune in next time for that.

If you like what you read, please do like/share/subscribe.

Much obliged.

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: