Productions and sales and consumptions are the conditions of human existence. Advertising is an integral part of selling. And to reach the target customers, manufacturers try to penetrate the market through different kinds of promotions such as text and pictures, and audio and video messages.
Advertisers use three different medium to sell a product: print, audio and audio-video, also called multimedia in the modern times. Copy is the integral part of selling campaigns. Without copy, there can be no advertisements. Copywriters write copy for print, audio and aural-visual formats.
What is Copy?
Human beings have used sound (words/text) and pictures (paintings/sculpturing/carvings) to communicate since the time immemorial. In the advertising world, same methods are used to sell a product. The posters and billboards are the oldest form of commercial activities. With the advent of radio, words accompanied by music were recorded and aired to sell a product. When the motion pictures came into existence, text and visuals were combined to create a product advertisement. In the beginning, words were used as captions, because movies were silent, so sound could not be heard. However, when talkies became a reality, instead of captions, words were spoken and product picture was displayed to create advertisement. These days text in multimedia advertisement is not always spoken, sometimes it is used as caption or voice sustaining the same text. Video and audio both are important aspects of an advertorial. Illustrations can be suggestive or prescriptive.
The total text (spoken, caption or instructions) of an advertisement is known as a copy. Copy is the text written for product selling line.
What is Copywriting?
Writing a copy is the most important aspect of product selling. Copy is written for print, audio, or aural-visual advertisements. Someone who writes selling lines for advertisement is called copywriter and his/her work is known as copywriting.
When a writer writes a copy, he/she thinks in terms of pictures, in fact a copywriter writes pictures and paints words to sell a product.
Let us see an example here:
If someone wants to sell a soft drink. What does he/she do to sell it? He/she closely scrutinizes the product – this is the initial sales pitch. He observes the product from different angles, he positions the product in various setting. In fact, he begins the process of writing pictures. The copywriter thinks about the target costumers and highlights the strong selling point, or the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the product. This is the basic substrate of copywriting.
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the basic information that makes the product distinct from other similar products. The strongest selling point maybe the price, feature or design.
Qualities of a Good Copy
A copywriter must craft lines by extensively using literary devices. He has to portray his words graphically. A good copy makes widespread use of:
Someone who writers for advertisement is a copywriter. A copywriter tries to arouse a basic human interest to own (buy) the product. He/she uses words with pictures and other sounds and creates an artistic mix.
A copywriter paints words by using the palette of lexicon. He evokes mood and reflects the human impulse. He reinforces verbal cue with the visual cue. He juggles with words, using perfect adjectives, plays on meaning, punning on words, sometimes even risqué lines. He creates a dramatization of ideas. He gives fresh insights, sometimes daring symbols. And this all has to be done in couple of short sentences. Copywriter is able to play with words creating powerful message.
The market is glutted with similar products. So copywriter can hardly peg on Unique Selling Proposition to hang his copy. But he has an eye, and makes everyone see what he has seen in that product. He knows his market and the product positioning.
How to Develop Copy?
A copy is the skeleton of a product ad, whereas storyline is the body. When the copy is conceptualized, it becomes advertisement. When the copywriter comes with some lines, he builds up an atmosphere and sets the words into a setting. This setting is the storyline.
Storyline is the detailed descriptions of an advertisement incorporating copy.
To know how exactly a copy develops, we have to understand some marketing principles.
Before the product is launched, manufacturer studies the market. He looks for purchasing power of his potential buyers and the need of buying, and surveys the competitive products. The manufacturer formulates product only after submarket segmentation. He then manufactures the product and does the sample testing.
Let us illustrate the process this way:
Market Specification – Design Specifications – Prototype Manufacture – Advertisement Campaign – Product Testing – Feedback
Advertisement campaign is very important for the success of the product, and here comes the role of a copywriter. After studying the product and the market, a copywriter formulates a plan to sell the product. He looks for Unique Selling Proposition, he crafts a punch line.
How to Develop Copy into Advertisement
Product: Soft drink called Juicy
Copy: Rejuvenate yourself with juicy
Exterior.Mid-day, glaring sun lonely and deserted road. A young man on supine position on the road, eyes closed, looking frail, breathing low. Plucking of an instrument, probably a guitar. A car is seen, it stops beside the man. A young woman dressed elegantly walks out, perturbed to see the man lying flat, puts her ear on his chest, a glow comes on her face. She runs to the car and comes out with a can in her hand. She presses the cheeks of the man with her fingers to open his mouth and pours the drink. She smiles and pours more drink on his mouth. Man opens his eyes, she rubs his forehead with her palm and pours the drink. Then the man catches the can, stretches himself and stands. Fast music builds. The man jumps up and says – I’m alive. The woman chuckles and takes his hand. Tempo of music rises. Turn by they slip from the bottle. Close Up of bottle is taken.
VOICE OVER: REJUVENATE YOURSELF WITH JUICY
THE COOLEST DRINK
The story board of this product suggests:
Characters and setting
Number of shots (still/video)
Duration of shots (if it is audio/video presentation)
The visual cue
Sound that includes narration, music, sound effects also called (SFX)
Types of Copy
A full scale advertisement campaign means, advertisements are published in different media. There will be billboards, posters, newspaper/magazines advertorials, radio jingles, TV/film commercials and multimedia messages for online media. While writing copy, a copywriter must think about the media platform where his copy will appear. He writes copy for
Print media: Posters/billboards, newspapers/magazines
Audio media: Radio jingles
Video: TV/Film commercials
Online media: Multimedia messages
Structuring a TV commercial is different from structuring a print or audio advertisement. A good copywriter is able to arouse all five senses.
How to Become a Good Copywriter?
Language is the most important skill of a copywriter. His vocabulary must be rich, he must have knack to pun words, and paint pictures with words. Playing with words is important attribute of a good copywriter, and all the while he has to be terse, while cutting verbiage.
A copywriter must have abilities to:
Craft interesting paunch lines
Create funny/humorous/interesting lines
After copy is created, a good copywriter knows how to develop the storyline by visualizing words into images and graphics. He then builds a storyboard.
Copy is mainly words. Words suggesting pictures and graphics actually is a storyline. A good copywriter thinks in terms of incidental details, color schemes and framing. He then translates his idea as a storyline. This process is called visualization.
Storyline is mainly verbal suggesting pictorial presentation of text. But for aural/visual or multimedia presentation of a product, a good copywriter knows how to develop storyline into story board.
When the copywriter integrates appropriate sound with time division and visualizes the idea into a picture, then the storyboard is developed.