Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Spec Ads

 Spec Ads

Spec ads are those ads which are not published or just presented to the client for pitching a job. For a job seeker it means ads that are not published or made for presentation purposes only. Advertising agencies often pitch for a job with SPEC ads and so can you! If you have a little experience with some copywriting, layouts, designing ads but feel they have no scope for showing your creativity then create a Portfolio or Book that showcase it. 
Check out some top television Spec ads

Great ideas to start off your Portfolio.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Is there a novel in you waiting to be published!

They say there is a novel in everyone. It could be fiction or non-fiction. You could choose indiE Publishing through Kindle, Smashwords...But, if not formatted properly it would be a reader's nightmare. So you would do well to get into formatting before you start or even now that you have reached the self publishing stage. 

Writing a novel  can do with tips and here are some i gathered from #National Geographic. Check them out here.
After you're done then decide if you want to run after the trad publisher or go for E publishing through #Kindle, #Smashwords or other sources.

Once you are done, you can wear your tux or gown, sari whatever you fancy and party. But, my protagonist in the kids fiction is a Nysasaurus - Dinoz and he wears a TUX!

Formatting right for e-books is not a choice; but a compulsion for the modern day e reader's viewability has a set pattern

So check some useful tips here!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Recharge every day!

Working on your creative project! 

Take a break the kit kat one or even a zentangle one. Just doodle away. This is called tangling and helps de-focus from your stress and get back to work refreshed! Try it! Learn this art from one of the official sites of this art - here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

10 tips for great headlines

Try these easy tips to write great headlines

1. Check if the ad has a good USP, a point of difference, something that sets you apart. 

2. Put the problem that the customers face with a larger than life question.

 Big bills, mortgages, education, would higher studies help now?... and the solution in your product either a study program for working people or a learn and earn program in a foreign country

3. Go for the Benefit of the benefit to the customer

4. Make a claim of being small but reaching the top like Avis – We’re No. 2, we try harder

5. Or shout out that you’re # 1 with an award or special recommendation from the industry

6. Make a dream come true offer. The latest gadget for (lowest buying offer) Pay just -

7. Mix headline types - Now, raise a toast to nature! Or Revealing the secret to being # 1

8. Make the headline a bold question

9. Transform a negative to positive – the famous Bernbach method used Lemon in the Volkswagen ad.

10. If you can write a testimonial, nothing like it. See that it is a believable one like a production manager saying - I was looking for a solution to leaking roofs

These are just some of headline ideas. Keep them handy and try these headlines for every product you work on. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll find your own ideas just waiting to be written. Keep pens and paper handy. Your smart phone will do just fine. Remember great headlines are crafted by being ready with the tools to capture them. But, even a paper napkin works, just fine!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Get a head start with headlines

Sell the sizzle not the steak! Know the benefit of the benefit.

What would make you shell out money to buy a product? What is the Reason Why or what is the‘Benefit of the benefit that you feel is reason enough to buy a product or service.

People are not looking for a TV - they want to enhance their viewing pleasure; they are looking for features; they are looking for so on and so forth. Got it! You decide which is important to your target audience.

Working on brands

Normally in big agencies you have a Creative Director (CD) or Senior Copywriter who works out the USP and the team of junior copywriters normally work on the headlines. But, in smaller agencies you have to do all the research. Isn’t it good – using your grey cells more, plus it will be easier when you work with big brands.

Personally I have thought of every job as a big brand and gone through the same process; sometimes as a freelancer I was given the visual and asked to work on the headline! It can be challenging and you can't complain since often you are not available as the brief is taken or the artwork  worked out! And, yet, you get amazing results with a chemistry or team work!

Toothpaste Brand - Colgate

Let’s take toothpaste as an example to understand the art of writing headlines. Yes there is a connect - I mean to the art of writing! Why do we buy one brand of toothpaste over other brands! It is the benefit of the benefit (yes i am repeating myself!). It could be fresh breath to a target audience of younger people. Colgate used the freshness hook or as the unique sales proposition (USP). Pepsodent hit on germs. As consumers we buy the one that fits our need the best.

As a Copywriter or creative professional, you have to be sure what this perceived benefit will be for the target consumer. What is the position in the heads of the consumers’ mind that your product fits best? Is it - as in the case of Colgate toothpaste - fresh breath, tooth decay, toothache, clean, white teeth or calcium? Can you think of a new position?  How about ‘wakes you up’ or 'feel fresh and awake' after brushing. Others need a cuppa bed tea/coffee before! Guess what could be the USP - this is the benefit of the benefit? Post it in the comments.


The challenge today is that with so many products and so many choices in the same product group there is very little space in the mind of a consumer and therefore finding one that will work like Colgate Active Salt has used the salt in your toothpaste with the benefit that salt has the perceived benefit of killing germs and keeps gums strong(this is just an example, it doesn’t mean I use the toothpaste or that you are using the product. So also with Colgate Total - it is positioned as 12 hour protection from various dental problems. If you have noticed - one product and so many positions are taken up by the same company.

Once you have got your positioning and USP bang on you have to work on the benefit of the benefit - only then should you get serious about writing your headline. Of course, do not stop any gems that flow on the way – they will come in useful.

Just remember:
  • Do not sacrifice quality for trying to write a clever headline! Express your idea even if it takes more words.
  • Sometimes brevity is necessary, yet, see that your reason why is expressed in an interesting manner!
  • Similarly, when a short headline is apt or when the size of the ad is small. Or the visual chosen needs just a few words -as Nike says…just do it!
  • See that the meaning is clear. For instance David dropped Goliath either David picked Goliath and threw him down. It could also mean David knocked out Goliath or David felled Goliath (John Caples)!!
  • Check my book here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Breaking News – Headlines that make News!!

Well, that pulled you in, didn’t it~ that is what a news headline does!

A  News Headline is sort of workhorse - it is used so often when you can present the benefit straightaway. You need not play with words…

Tips to write Headlines

Use words like: Now, New, Presenting, Introducing, announcing, are newsworthy words - follow with a benefit for the reader.

Be straight and to the point like Phillip Ward Burton suggests:
Finally Ocean Cruises for land lovers (Advertising Copywriting).
Choose new words that suggest - an irresistible offer!

John Caples was a great advocate of News Headlines (Tested Advertising Methods) Caples had rules for writing headlines, which work even today:

·       Make the headline suggest to the reader that here is something that he wants. This is the first and foremost concern that every writer must remember

·       He advocated that if there is ‘news’ in your product or when there is a new use for an old product, new product - … put it in the headline ...

·       Curiosity combined with news or self-interest is effective and should be of interest to the reader to move to the copy or the offer…

·       Negative headlines that make the picture dreary, gloomy or sad should be avoided! So, Be Positive

·       The headline should immediately suggest the advantage or benefit to the reader.

Be fresh and original...And, ENJOY the process.

When you have to announce a new feature, have an unbelievable offer; when you have the selling points - you could reach the ‘action’ (AIDA) part of an ad very fast! However, this must be true and believable. Do a little research, ask friends, family about their views - often you will find you get the true picture from the buyers and they could be someone you know!

Wherever you see a good picture, a good quotation, metaphors, idioms, poems, pictures from your creative sessions, family fun times, friends, college, work - Save it. Note it or make a scribble! When, an idea hits you -- drop everything to write it, even if it is on a tissue at a restaurant or a poster on your wall or your mobile! IDEAS do not stay and you never know which one will be useful; it could come while watching a movie, as a dialogue, in a story, while reading a book, a line on a hoarding or on the back of a truck…learn to see them with a discerning eye.

Observe. Observe. Observe! It is easy once you are in the groove of absorbing  the finer nuances from everything that is part of your life. Travel; go to the theatre; read authors from your country apart from world writers. You will find treasures in famous writings, films, music, and everyday life, of course.