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Copywriters Tie Themselves In Knots Trying To Explain That People Who Use Their Flooring End Up By Flying In Executive Jets...

They then tie themselves in knots trying to explain that people who use their flooring end up by flying in executive jets because of the savings they make. That sort of foolishness. The point is that executive jets may be very noble in themselves, but have little to do with cushion flooring. As an aside, here, you may well chime in with the thought that nobody has the right to knock an ad unless they (a) have a precise idea of the digital marketing strategy behind it and, less importantly perhaps, (b) know whether and how it was mucked about by all and sundry between PC and publication. Very true.

All online advertising is, or should be, created in the context of a digital marketing strategy, and I'll agree there is often a good deal more to an ad than meets the eye. Not so many years ago, a leading insurance company ran a full-page, full-colour campaign in a number of Sunday supplements and similar media, the space in which cannot be bought for peanuts. It was addressed, ostensibly, to the man in the street. However, it achieved the lowest reading-and-noting figures in one of those tedious copy-research exercises in which I have so very little faith.

To take notice of that, though, would have been to miss the many-splendoured digital marketing thing. Because this campaign, although it talked to the general public, was not, in fact, aimed at the general public. It was a sprat to catch a mackerel, and its intended purpose was to generate a rapid increase in the number of agents for the company.

The national consumer online advertising was, in effect, trade advertising; and in these terms it was a resounding success. So you really never know. But most ads are trying to do what they appear to be trying to do; and the average reader of them is in precisely the same position as I am - he neither knows, nor particularly cares what the strategy or planning behind them is. He, and we, take them at their face value and form an opinion on that. No, I am right behind an ad that gets an unfair share of attention - but it will never, ever do so if it employs irrelevant comparisons.

Anyway, comparisons are odious. Did you know that even today in online advertising circles, many arguments still rage about the merits of 'long' body copy over 'short' body copy? One would have thought that after all these years, the thing would have long been resolved. Maybe I should resolve it right now.

Long copy, I am given to understand, is anything over fifty words, short is anything under. Why do they quibble? Why do they rail? Well, some say that nobody reads copy anyway. Others say that copy is a mandatory part of every ad. They are both wrong on both counts.

People do, and it isn't. And if you think I'm being contradictory, you're right -but also wrong.

There exists a queue of opinion which maintains that no ad is complete without a stick of body copy in it. A stick of body copy, therefore, is what their ads invariably get - never mind whether they have anything worth saying or not. On the other hand, there are those who set their faces sternly against copy - long or short - again irrespective of whether the story they have to tell demands copy (long or short). Both parties, again, are equally in error. Copy for copy's sake, without life, without interest, and without story is less than useless.

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