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View Full Version : Got writers block ? Turn on the T.V. !



Harold Mansfield
02-25-2009, 10:50 PM
It is absolutely amazing to me how many ideas that you can get from watching ads on T.V. I mean theses guys are obviously the very best and they know how to get people on the phone with thier CC in hand.
I just recently started to pay attention to T.V. commercials closely..I actually make it a point on Sat morning now to look for infomercials, instead of cartoons.

Couple of things I learned recently from commercials and infomercials.

1. Put the CC logos and payment options right in the ad :

It sounds so simple, but I get so caught up in the copy, that I forgot the simplest way to say "We are open...This cost money...Get yours ready!"

Infomercials are great at this, (Ron Popiel of course was the best) : After a brief pitch, they place the payment option right next to the phone number and leave it there for the duration of the commercial. IT's so simple , yet it goes unnoticed.

Just recently I re-wrote some ads that I have on a classified site, and added a simple group of CC logos in the ad and noticed a significant change in my click through ratio.

2. Using the economy to generate a sense of urgency.

I thought this to be a little cheap, but I gave it a shot. I have a few niche ebay auction sites (where of course people list things that they want or need to sell)
, so on a couple of ads I changed the opener to something like "The struggling economy is your gain...hundreds of people...blah,blah, blah..at fair or below book value"
..and dammit it worked !

I have gotten some good copy ideas for my ads from T.V. infomercials. Even products that are scams, wastes of money or are just downright wrong, have some very serious pitchmen working for them.

The one thing I learned the most was to Dumb It Down a little. Get to the point using the simplest language possible. The least amount of brain power that people have to use , the easier it is to get them to buy. "If it's that simple , it must be a good idea !"

Late night/early morning is the best to see some of the real pros in action, especially with some of the junk they have to sell, yet they get the job done, and call centers are taking orders. Saturday morning cable is another good time.

If you ever need some zing to your copy, or get in a rut...seriously..turn on the T.V. and take notes.

orion_joel
02-26-2009, 12:21 AM
I have seen the idea with the CC logo's on a lot of sites that have the real long sales, letter's. They often have the buy link as the CC logo's sometimes with text. It has almost become the default i will scroll looking for the logo's to find out the price.

Another kind of different area this works well for is if you are stuck with ideas for writing, grab a book and flick through looking at the headings, and it will give you some idea's. Just dont read the whole thing and copy what they wrote, just use the header as a kicker.

Dan Furman
02-26-2009, 03:08 AM
Get to the point using the simplest language possible.


I've based my entire writing style on this. I'm not called "Clear-Writing" for nothing!




Late night/early morning is the best to see some of the real pros in action, especially with some of the junk they have to sell, yet they get the job done, and call centers are taking orders. Saturday morning cable is another good time.

If you ever need some zing to your copy, or get in a rut...seriously..turn on the T.V. and take notes.

I agree - infomercials are excellent resources for what works in "make the sale" advertising/writing/etc. And sales, too - any salesperson can learn a lot from watching Ron "Pocket Fisherman" Popiel (big fan - always really liked him).

vangogh
02-26-2009, 03:28 AM
Oddly I too will watch the occasional infomercial just to catch their techniques. One of my new favorites is the shamwow. At the very end of the commercial when they put up all the contact info they have a line "Beware of Imitators" or something similar. I noticed another infomercial by the same company uses the same line as well.

At first I just laughed because who would be imitating it, but then I realized how that line makes the product seem more legitimate. After all it must be good if people are trying to imitate it and copy their idea. Think about how much that single line conveys.

I thought that was an interesting trick.

KristineS
02-26-2009, 01:31 PM
Infomercials can be fascinating. You can learn a lot about creating a sense of urgency in your customer. I always love the bit about "act now, this offer expires in the next half hour". Even if you don't want the product, it still makes you think about it more.

I also love the enthusiasm of the hosts. There's one out there for some kind of steamer cookware or something. The inventor is a woman and the guy who hosts is a man. Over the course of the informercial they cook a bunch of stuff and the guy eats it and he's always blown away by the food. There's a real sense this is just the greatest thing ever and they use a lot of descriptive language to convey that feeling. You can't use the facial expressions and gestures they use in the informericals in writing, but you certainly could use the language.

Harold Mansfield
02-27-2009, 04:26 PM
Oddly I too will watch the occasional infomercial just to catch their techniques. One of my new favorites is the shamwow. At the very end of the commercial when they put up all the contact info they have a line "Beware of Imitators" or something similar. I noticed another infomercial by the same company uses the same line as well.

At first I just laughed because who would be imitating it, but then I realized how that line makes the product seem more legitimate. After all it must be good if people are trying to imitate it and copy their idea. Think about how much that single line conveys.

I thought that was an interesting trick.

Yeah, it's brilliant in it's simplicity.
I had a buddy talking about buying one and he even mentioned that he wanted to be sure that he got an authentic one, and not an imitation, I didn't know what he was talking about when he said "imitation" until you pointed that out.
That little line took the thought process out of "if" you should buy it and turned it into "I have to make sure a get an authentic one".

Absolutely brilliant !

vangogh
02-27-2009, 08:28 PM
he wanted to be sure that he got an authentic one, and not an imitation

That's too funny. I don't know why I noticed that, but I tend to pay attention to those things. There's so many little tricks in all those infomercials they're fun watching.

So what would a shamwow imitator be? A rag? It's a great line isn't it?

The other infomercial is a food chopping thing. The same guy is hosting with the same basic delivery. They use the imitator line at the end too.

cocoy
03-06-2009, 12:33 PM
Vince is great. :)

The sham wow probably sold more in the past year than a similar product that's been regularly available at auto stores for years.

vangogh
03-06-2009, 01:11 PM
I think we'll be seeing him on infomercials for years. He does have a way doesn't he?

cocoy
03-09-2009, 01:47 PM
He does.

Shamwow is one of Yahoo's top buzz today.