Creativity Contest – Win a $25 Visa Gift Card

pancakes.jpgThis morning, mid-pancake, I had an interesting idea for an advertising headline, but alas no reason to use it. So I figured rather than letting this idea fizzle into the ether I would throw it out there as a contest. Here are the rules (I know, rules are boring, boring – blah, blah, blah. But it’s all in the spirit of fairness and fun.)

1. Create an ad for a product or service using the headline “Think. Thank. Thunk.”

2. Concepts can be either descriptions or images. You can either post your concept as a comment to this post or e-mail it to me at andreagouletblog at gmail dot com.

3. Post your concept by March 1st at 12:00 noon (EST) to be considered for the prize of a $25 Visa Gift Card

4. Provide an e-mail address with your entry so I can contact you for an address to mail the prize if you win.

5. Me and my zany friends will get together and judge all of the entries based on wit and effectiveness. The winner will be notified by March 5th.

I think that’s it. Questions? Just email me. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

To your success,

Andrea Goulet

Adventures in Amazing Copywriting #3 – Alliteration

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Today’s example of amazing copywriting comes to us from Sprecher Brewery and their Orange Dream soda.

On the top label, a simple sentence stands superior.

In your wildest dreams, cows roam the orange groves in search of a starry spot for sitting and sipping a succulent citrus soda. Enjoy this super citrus drink of natural orange flavors, honey and vanilla for a creamy dreamy taste experience that’s over the moon.

Although it’s short, here’s why it works:

Alliteration (several words in consecutive order beginning with the same sound) is a secret weapon in any copywriter’s toolbox. As Brian Clark from Copyblogger notes, alliteration can make copy “bounce”.

Writer Scott Eric Kaufman explains his take on alliteration and assonance (repeating vowel sounds in non-rhyming words) as, “the interconnectedness it inspires, as if the repeated consonant and vowel sounds benumb the brain into an associative state. I want those connections to seem subtly more sound than they are, because creating an impression of interconnectedness could compel readers to respond favorably to arguments they might otherwise resist.”

I’m not sure if I agree with Scott’s notion that alliteration is a means for changing opinions. I do agree that alliteration can inspire a sense of cohesiveness and interconnectedness, can make a sentence stand out, and helps with the overall flow and pace of your work.

It should be noted that alliteration is an effective, yet potent copywriting tool. Like an essential oil, just a little goes a long way. Overusing alliteration can make you sound amateur, but the right blend can make you sound brilliant.

Put Your Mind In the Gutter (Or Else Your Clients Will)

Browsing through Reddit today and ran across this post of Worst Business Name Ever with this photo:

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Hopefully you see the obvious problem here.

It reminds me of when one of my friends was pregnant. She and her husband were considering names for the baby and this was the conversation:

Wife: What about Regina? It’s my grandmother’s name.
Husband: Nope. She’ll get teased and get called “Vagina” in school.

Every name my friend threw out had to pass her husband’s “what will kids call her” test. Brilliant! Way to think ahead and catch a potential problem early.

Business owners should apply the same test when naming their business. What will clients call you? And put your mind in the gutter before you spend all the time and money on a name that only gets plastered all over the blogosphere as the worst business name ever.

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

What’s in a name?

One of my close friends is an architect. I love having her outside perspective when I’m explaining what I do – she almost can’t conceive the life of a copywriter.

The other day she invited me to a party to celebrate one of her friends getting a great job in San Francisco. I jumped at the chance to be in a room full of non-entrepreneurs.

As I socialized, I found a running theme when I described what I do. Here’s the gist of the conversation:

“Yep, I’m an architect too – just like everyone else here. So what do you do?”

“I’m a copywriter”

“Oh, OK.” (insert perplexed look here) “So are you a lawyer that helps people get a copyright?”

At this point I paused – learning that I certainly needed to reword my title. I tested different responses….

“…I’m a freelance writer”

“What do you write about?”

“I write all the words that go on the promotional pieces for a business. Things like websites, fliers, brochures, advertisements – things like that.”

Although this was better – it wasn’t quite there.

Then I hit it.

“…I’m the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing”

“Wow. Really? What does that mean?”

“I help come up with creative ways for companies who have a great product or service get the message out.”

“Sounds like you have a fun job.”

“I do.”

So the question I’m posing to all you fellow copywriters out there is this – how do you introduce yourself at a party? How do you explain your profession so people “get” what you do?

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

The History of “We’re Never Too Busy for Your Referrals”

Thanks to Rick Dassler who posted a comment about the history of the phrase “We’re never too busy for your referrals.”

Looks like he has dibbs on the phrase I came up with to replace it – glad it works for you. This idea’s on the house. 😉

Annoying Business Buzzwords and Phrases

annoyed-woman.jpgWhen I hear one of these phrases, a part of me cringes. Are people still talking like this? Are they listening to what they’re saying?

“We offer excellent customer service” – OK, what else do you do. Excellent customer service is standard nowadays. This phrase does NOTHING to set you apart. Plus, “excellent” is such a vague term with little metric value (see post on boastful superlatives).

“We are never too busy for your referrals.” – I would hope not – your chances of closing the deal on a referral are much higher than a cold-call. Who in their right mind would be “too busy?” Are you attempting to solicit your current clients to send you referrals with this message? If so, you might want to try mentioning how your service will be different. Maybe something like, “We treat your referrals like family.”

“This is a ‘turnkey’ solution.” – Enough of the buzzwords. They are fads. They get old. They do not make you seem smarter. Check out Scott Ginsberg’s blog for more annoying buzzwords .

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Catchy Store Names & Taglines

sitting-elf.jpgThere’s a restaurant in town called the Bilbo Baggin’s Cafe – their tagline? “Great Service is More Than Just a Hobbit”

Other store names that caught my eye…

  • A bakery called the Upper Crust
  • A bookstore called Books & Crannies
  • A hair salon called Bangs & Burns

I’ll keep my eye out for more and post as I see them. What are some wacky store names you’ve seen?

BTW, if you’re looking to create your own unique store name, Sam Horn wrote the book.