Tag Archives: blogging

“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.


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.











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.

3 Easy Ways To Overcome The Scourge Of Writer’s Block.

Imagine a world without writer’s block – the grass certainly seems greener, and the girls prettier.

Now back to reality.

You’re sitting at your desk in a dark room. It’s marked by years of coffee cup abuse – what some would mistake as knots in the wood, are actually ring-shaped stains – hell, you’re the single-greatest living advertisement for the coaster industry. Worst of all, you’ve got front row tickets to your very own Greek tragedy. Yet unlike the solo beam of the stage light illuminating Oedipus, your solitary light source comes courtesy of the luminescence of the blank word document staring back at you – sound familiar to you?

Despite being completely featureless – that is after all the problem – the white glow of your masterpiece-in-progress seems to be grinning at you… it’s mocking you… and it’s enjoying it.

Perhaps hyperbole’s got the better of me here. Either I’ve just described your “I’m-banging-my-head-against-the-wall” predicament, or my very own inspiration-starved state of desperation has vomited up a cacophony of heinous cliches.

Nevertheless, here’s your quick-fix to…

Writer’s block… the Wall…. the source of your greatest frustration.

How about some empowerment? It’s time you showed a triumphant middle finger to the inspiration vacuum. It’s time you formed a mighty fist with which to smash the wall. It’s time you asked yourself: ‘Do I feel lucky?’. Well, do ya, punk?

I really wanted to get that line in there – could you tell?

Here’s that empowerment you were looking for in some nice, manageable, numerical steps.

1. Just get writing already.

In the not-too-distant future technology will be able to read your thoughts so you can tweet or IM telepathically. So why don’t you beat the computers to the punch. They’ve needed someone to bring them down a peg, or two – ever since that Conan-esque robot from the future began preaching about machines becoming self-aware. Pah.

Put your thoughts to paper.

If you start writing what you’re thinking, maybe you’ll start thinking about what you’re writing. Problem solved.

The law of averages dictate that your spiel is just as likely to be the literary reincarnation of Oscar Wilde, as it is Stephanie Meyer. If you’re lucky you’ll have banished your writer’s block to the farthest corners of your consciousness. You might even find yourself regaling your audience with charmingly whimsical, timeless quips.

On the other hand, the very same law of averages may leave you writing some nonsense about angst-y vampires. But you must think positively – at least you’ve solved your chronic case of absolute nothingness.

Now, what’s next?

2. Writer’s block getting you down? Hint: Write about writer’s block.

This is your therapy, your rehabilitation.

“Hello, my name is Ryan and I have writer’s block.”

That’s the way these programs are portrayed in popular culture. They promote openness and discussion to overcome your deviances and addictions. Think of this solution as your very own AA meeting – without the need to come face-to-face with other people’s problems. Win-win.

Let’s extend the metaphor further.

Please take a moment to recline upon your very own therapists couch. Don’t like leather couches? You can have linen – it’s not a problem.

Work through it and the inspiration will come – you’re on the path to recovery.

Now you’ve just got to hurdle that wall.

3. ‘I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise’

As Shania Twain will tell you: “So you have writer’s block? That don’t impress me much.”

You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last to contract this terrible affliction.

You need to be fully aware that you are not in possession of some kind of inspiration tap you can turn on and off as you please – there will be times when you want to carry out the first-half of your very own hair transplant.

Your panic and your surprise is unwarranted and a hindrance – take the rough with the smooth.

For those that didn’t get the reference to Jack… it’s from Fight Club, yet ironically this third stage is all about you not beating yourself up about writer’s block.

Whether you’re writing professionally or as a hobby, neither your aptitude nor your adoration for word-smithery will have disappeared for good. Think of writer’s block as more of a hiatus – just pray your return isn’t the damp squib most musical hiatuses produce… sorry Fall Out Boy.

That’s 3 simple methods for you to try and break the deadlock.

Challenging writer’s block can be incredibly satisfying – your very own slaying of the Hydra. Saying that, at times the Hydra can seem preferable.

But remember: Writing wouldn’t be nearly as fun if it was easy, and when your brain throws up one of it’s seemingly insurmountable walls, it’s just your own sub-conscious’ way of posing a challenge. As a writer you need the wall occasionally to keep yourself motivated and on your toes.

I’m just offering you a boost – can you see the other side yet?

If you found this helpful/ entertaining/ insightful (delete as appropriate) please do share/ like/ subscribe (you know the drill).

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