Copywriting: Elements of Advertisement copy, Headline, sub-headline, Layout, Body copy, Slogans, Signature, closing ideas

05/07/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

An ‘advertising copy’ is the means by which an advertiser expresses his ideas in the form of a message to the readers. If refers to all the reading matters of an advertisement, whether short or long, and includes the headline, sub-headlines, text or body, and the name or the initial of an advertiser. An advertising copy is sometimes referred to as ‘advertising message’.

Characteristics of Advertising Copy:

The format of advertising copy must be so designed that it possesses the characteristics, or features like:

(1) Arresting pictures,

(2) Arresting headlines,

(3) Novelty and contrast of the product,

(4) Dis­tinctiveness,

(5) Message size and position (how long, how short, how it is put, etc.),

(6) Colour,

(7) Shape, and

(8) Movement.

Factors Affecting Advertising Copy:

An advertising copy must be based on the following factors:

(i) Is advertising believable?

(ii) Is advertising reliable?

(iii) Does it appeal to the consumers’ needs and wants?

(iv) Does it explain the benefits of a product realistically?

(v) Is it based on creativity? etc.

An advertising copy or message has to be designed by identifying the target audience. What are the audience needs? attitudes? preferences? It is very difficult to pinpoint various factors in detail, because much depend on the perception, attitude and social status of the audience.

The aim of advertising copy is that it shall be seen, read, the messages conveyed, and then acted upon. It is necessary that an advertisement copy creates curiosity in the mind of the prospect, invites his attention, pro­duces an impression on his memory and turns his impressions into convictions.

Essentials of a Good Advertising Copy:

Advertising copy contains the message of the advertisement. For advertising in newspa­pers, magazines and other publications, such message is conveyed through reading material in written words and pictures; for radio advertising, the message is communicated through talking material in spoken words; and for film and television advertising, the message is embodied in both reading and talking material.

According to the differing nature of advertising media, the copy of advertising may represent some reading, talking, or combined reading and talking material.

Irrespective of its nature, advertising copy in all cases is to be drawn up in conformity with certain cardinal principles as follows:

  1. Advertising copy being meant for conveying information, it must provide such information through as simple, clear, concise and complete a copy as possible. A simple and clear copy requires the use of known words and familiar phrases rather than the introduction of rare words and high- flown phrases.

Conciseness or brevity is the art of copy writing and lends much in gaining public reception for a product. A complete copy is what gives full information relating to the source and time of availability of the advertised products or services along with their costs.

  1. The copy should be drawn up with a specific objective in view rather than the general one of increasing sales. As sales are circumscribed by a number of barriers like feeling of high prices, existence of rival brands, lack of quality confidence or knowledge of poor performance, the message of the copy should be directed to dispel the wrong impression or to overcame the consumer resistance.
  2. The copy should be designed with an eye to enlist the support of prospective consumers. A general appeal to all falls into deaf ears and fails to draw the attention of any particular group or section of the community. Accompanied by a proper layout with suitable headings and illus­trations, an effective copy carries the message to those people who are likely to use the advertised products or services.
  3. The message of the advertisement is of no avail unless it can create consumers’ interest in the product. In the absence of faith or confi­dence in a business and its products, no interest can be expected on the part of consumers. For this purpose, the copy must be grounded in a tone of sincerity and believability. The message must be capable of inspiring confidence in prospective consumers and of winning their acceptance.
  4. The copy should stimulate a deep-seated human desire through making an appeal to the inner yearnings of the consumer. That is to say, the copy is to be based upon a central theme of appeal.

Component Parts or Elements of Advertising Copy:

The make-up or component parts of the copy of advertising can be viewed from two aspects:

  1. Advertising theme and
  2. Advertising layout.

(A) Advertising Theme:

A theme represents a particular view-point or a central idea with which the message is conveyed to the consuming public. The theme involves a rational appeal based upon human emotions, desires or sentiments. Such well-thought-out and specific appeals became effective in arousing desire and in initiating action on the part of consumers.

The following are the common themes used in advertising:

  1. The theme of beauty:

The sales appeal for cosmetics, perfumeries and toilet products are usually based upon the theme of beauty. Accordingly, the message of the advertisement contains expressions like “For romantic or charming appearance, use product A”, “Product B ensures alluring or exquisite complexion”, or “Care your hair with product C for glossy glimpse and luxuriant growth.”

  1. The theme of pride:

The sales message in the case of jewelleries, radios, costly clothes, motor cars and others is laid upon the theme of pride, since the acquisition of such products is deemed as proud possessions on the part of buyers. For example, “Prestige car means A”, “Radio B adds decency to any home”, “Discerning people prefer fabric C”, or “X’s Jewellery adorns fashionable ladies.”

  1. The theme of health:

Food products and drugs are advertised through reliance upon the theme of health. To take some examples, “Product A supplies boundless energy and vigour”, “Health brings happiness—and the key to health is held by product B”, “Product C keeps you free from disease”, or “Eminent physicians prescribe D for cold and cough.”

  1. The theme of comfort:

Products which aid in giving comfort to the people at work or at home are advertised through the theme of comfort. Elec­trical fans, air-conditioning plants, refrigerators and the likes belong to the group of products meant for providing comfort.

  1. The theme of economy:

This is a common appeal used in many cases for making bargaining purchase, for saving money or far protecting costly things from decay and destruction.

  1. The theme of fear:

The theme of fear is utilized by insurance companies and safety-vault operators in expanding the demand for their services. Possible dangers and their consequences are presented in the copy of advertising for initiating action on the part of their customers.

  1. The theme of emulation:

The desire for imitation is strongly implanted in human nature. By giving illustrations and factual information as to what some distinguished persons do, the message of the advertisement may call for imitation on the part of others. To take one case, “The succ­essful men all over the globe use Blade A.”

  1. The theme of distinction:

The desire for individual recognition, distinct social status and superior community standing is inherent in human beings. As an outward mark of that distinction, selected products of very expensive nature are acquired by a class of people who may be high-borns or aristocrats.

  1. The theme of affection:

Baby foods, toys and other playthings are advertised on the basis of this theme. By directing appeal towards parental love, the copy of advertising becomes effective in securing action on the part of buyers.

  1. The theme of patriotism:

The appeal for products of national origin is sometimes based upon national sentiments. For the prosperity of a nation and its citizens, the theme of patriotism makes out a case for using national products in preference to goods of foreign origin.

(B) Advertising Layout:

Layout is the logical arrangement of compo­nents of an advertisement in the copy and deals with systematic presentation of the message. The pattern of layout varies according to the medium to be used.

For newspapers and magazines, the presentation of the message is visible in written words and pictures; in radio the presentation is audible in spoken words and sound effects; and in television, both audio and visual presentations are practicable. In all cases, balance and symmetry are of prime importance in presenting the message within the allotted space or time.

Visual layout in any publication can be divided into the following three parts:

(a) Headlines:

Headlines are used in bold letters for drawing atten­tion of the consuming public. The size and length of the headline must be appropriate to the general format and page size of the publication; it must also be in keeping with the theme of advertising and with the entire make-up of the copy.

Usually, short headlines are given stressing some facts, suggestions, prepositions or convictions. In magazines and trade journals, colour printing is adopted for headlines to make than more promi­nent and conspicuous in character.

(b) Illustrations:

Illustrations are given by way of pictures, symbols or photographs for drawing attention, creating interest as well as for arousing desire. Significant illustrations may be worth a thousand words in securing public reception for the product.

But limits of decency must not be exceeded in presenting pictures or photographs which should always be in good taste. Obscene and objectionable pictures do more harm than good to the cause of advertisement.

(c) Texts:

Texts provide the heart of the message of advertisements, and they are to be woven around an advertising theme. For an individual copy, one theme is desirable; a multiplicity of themes creates confusion and weakens the strength of appeal. For presenting the text, different practices are followed in the business world.

In some cases, the text is prefaced by a statement of problem to the reader and followed by a solution thereof. In other cases, reading materials are presented in an analytical manner with pertinent facts and data. Furthermore, the text may be presented by the use of type face in one copy or of hard lettering in another copy.

Advertising copy must arrest, inform, impress and impel the reader.

A well defined advertising copy must perform the following functions:

(a) Attract Attention

(b) Command Interest

(c) Create Desire

(d) Inspire Conviction

(e) Provoke Action.

An advertising copy may be classified as under:

Educational Copy:

It aims at educating the public, regarding the use of a product. Such an advertisement copy depicts the specialties of the product, in contrast to the existing ones. People keep certain habits which cannot be easily changed. Demand can be created when such habits are changed. This type of copy introduces new habits and attracts people towards the product.

Competitive Copy:

It aims at putting forth the special features of a product. It promotes to differ one brand from competitors’ brands. It meets the challenge of the competitors.

Institutional Copy:

It sells not the products of the institution but the name of the institution. Also known as PRESTIGE or CORPORATE advertising, this is the type of advertisement used to present the company’s image. When a pharmaceutical firm takes space it describes its research skills, its contribution to society etc. The copy aims to develop and maintain a good-will for the product that the product comes from a reputed house.


MISSIONARY COPY aims at propaganda for the product.

PIONEERING COPY aims at educating the public.

GOODWILL COPY is one which does not try to sell a product but aims to sell the public some idea on the firm in general, on the quality of its product, its utility, etc.

SELLING COPY is used by the mail-order house to effect a sale by mail, or by the manufacturer who sells through retailers, to persuade the buyer to call for his brand at the retail store. It is used by the retailer to make an immediate sales of the goods, which he may have to stock.

REASON WHY COPY itself is clear as to its meaning. It explains the reasons to readers- why the advertised product is to be purchased. It aims at answering the questions raised about a product as to why, how and when the product is to be purchased.

HUMAN INTEREST COPY makes its appeal to the emotions and the senses, rather than to the intellect and judgement. It may be of many forms: Fear Copy, Humorous Copy, Story Copy etc. The examples and statements of these copies are funny and readers smile or laugh. It affects the heart rather than the mind.

SUGGESTIVE COPY directly or indirectly conveys the message, which leads to sales.

EXPOSITORY COPY is not to conceal but to expose the facts as they are clear and concise ideas are given. It explains the construction, uses, merits, operation and superiority of advertised articles.

DESCRIPTIVE COPY conveys the ideas in words or pictures so as to impress the readers’ mind and thus act upon it.

ARGUMENTATIVE COPY is a message supported by facts. 

Qualities of a Good Advertisement Copy:

An effective advertisement copy must have certain qualities which make it the best one. They are:

  1. It Must Be Simple:

It must be simple and easy to understand. A copy writer must use short, simple, understandable words and sentences. The words or sentences used must be remembered by intelligent persons and non-intelligent persons. It must make people to see it, i.e., it should arrest their attention.

  1. It Must Be Informative:

The copy must give the information which the reader wants to know about the products, in order to buy. Hence it must give the real fact. The information must be natural and straightforward. It must make people read it, i.e., people should be informed.

  1. It Must Be Concise and Complete:

The copy must be complete and brief. If it is incomplete, it fails. Brevity is essential (condensation). Completeness should never be sacrificed for brevity. It must make people to understand it.

  1. It Must Be Enthusiastic:

Salesman’s talk in the written form is the copy. The copy must tell the reader what the product or merchandise will do for him.

  1. It Must Be Honest:

It must be honest and truthful towards the public. If the copy is untrue, then the confidence and the value of publicity go down. The public should not be cheated. The public, who are the final users of the products, are the witness of the product quality.

If inferior products are sold through false advertising, they have a short life. If the firm is hiding the facts, not exposing the real position, the product tells its own weakness to the users. If the advertisement is not honest, then the products will disappear from market and the firm will be closed down within a short span of time.

  1. It Creates An Urge:

It must reveal unknown or unseen features of the products. The public should be informed about the product’s use and merits by the advertiser. It must create a goodwill in the minds of the public. Its aim must be to trust the firm and its products. It should have an effective salesmanship in absentia.

A Good Advertisement Copy:

  1. It must make people to see it.
  2. It must make people to read it.
  3. It must make people to understand it.
  4. It must make people to believe it.
  5. It must make people to buy the product.

Elements of an Advertisement Copy:

There are certain principles, which an advertisement should have. That is it must aim to arrest, inform, impress and urge the readers to act on the advertisement.

The elements are known as values and they are:

  1. Attention Value:

People are busy. They find time rarely. Almost all the people, who are able to make a purchase, do not have enough time. Under such situations, the advertisement must be able to attract the attention of readers, at a glance. There must be some specialty in the advertisement.

To make it more attractive, we may adopt the following devices:

(a) Pictures and drawings should have a direct bearing on the product.

(b) The headline must be good with a proper border.

(c) It must have a pleasing colourful presentation.

(d) It should not be congested i.e., there must be enough inter-space.

(e) The slogans must be lively.

(f) The coupons must be part of the advertisement.

By filling the coupons the needy customer must be able to get full information and thereby it becomes repeated advertisement to the seller.

  1. Suggestive Value:

The message advertised should have some suggestive and useful value to those who go through the advertisement. The words or pictures in the advertisement should have commanding power on the readers. Repetition has good effect. When one comes across the advertisement every time, he begins to consider the product.

  1. Conviction Value:

To be more effective, the statements in the advertisement must be genuine and accurate. Misrepresentation or exaggerative words must be avoided. Simple and plain facts have more effect on the readers to convince them than colourful or flattering wordings.

  1. Sentimental Value:

The sentimental feelings or the prejudiced attitude of the reader should not be affected by the advertiser; but rather, they must be respected. The likes and dislikes, habits and customs etc., of the readers may be highly considered. It must appear that the advertiser is doing it for the readers.

  1. Educative Value:

When products are manufactured for the first time, it is the duty of the producer, through advertisements, to draw the attention of the people and to tell them the use, merits, ingredients, special features etc., of the products. All people are alike, but their behaviour is different.

When the advertisement is able to change their habits and mould the tendency to use the products, the market for the products increases. People must have a feeling to see the advertisement through bearing eyes. It gives new information, suggestion and knowledge to people and directs them to go for the product.

  1. Memorizing Value:

Advertisement must create a good impression on the reader’s mind. Slogan, if it is good to read and charming to hear, has good memorizing value. Repeating the advertisement often, through attractive brand name and catchy wordy slogans, may have a memorizing value in the minds of the readers.

  1. Instinctive Value:

The advertiser must have a well-thought out plan to make a copy to be advertised. The matter or message must be arranged in such a way that the reader is able to understand and act on the message. The presentation is brief with questions tempting or compelling the people to act on. We can come across, an inducement, an aroused feeling, a temptation, an inclination etc., in such advertisements.