As a financial services marketer, you might feel the urge to add a bit of “creativity” into your advertising copy. You could be looking at brands like Geico and Budweiser and think, “maybe if I promote myself as they do, maybe I can get more sales.” As a direct response copywriter, I have found two resources that will help you understand creative advertising copywriting better.
The first source is the URL of the Pinterest search for “Creative advertising.” Here, you will find many ads from some of the biggest brands in the world. Including Heinz, Starbucks, L’Oréal, and LEGO. You might find inspiration for your upcoming advertising campaign by looking at some of those advertisements.
The second source is the book The Copywriter’s Handbook by Bob Bly. Specifically, the first chapter, “An Introduction to Copywriting.” In this chapter of the book, Mr. Bly goes over the role of a copywriter, how copywriters must look at advertising, and how creative a copywriter can get with their work.
As a creative person, you naturally want to write clever copy and produce fancy promotions. But as a professional, your obligation to your client is to increase sales at the lowest possible cost.
Bob Bly, The Copywriter’s Handbook
3 Things to Know About Creative Advertising Copywriting
Drawing from the two sources mentioned above, as well as my knowledge and experience as a direct response copywriter, I’ve produced three points (I believe) every financial services marketer should know about creative advertising copywriting:
If You’re Not a Large Corporation, Avoid Comedy in Advertising
If you’re a micro, small, or medium-sized business considering running agency-type ads – please – get those thoughts out of your head. Because you won’t succeed running that type of campaign.
If you’re not a large corporation, your focus should be on generating sales NOW. And brand marketing advertising (GEICO / Budweiser) is not for producing sales short term. These big companies deliver those funny advertisements with the hope that their brand sticks into your brain, and that you think of them when you’re about to purchase products and services within their industry.
Take GEICO, for example. Yes – they have those funny commercials with the talking gecko and the pig. And yes, they have thrown away millions and millions of dollars without even knowing what they’re getting in return. But that is only half of their system. They also run snail mail and email campaigns with a direct-response marketing approach. That’s how they approach their target market and produce their sales. Therefore, they can then take the risk of going over-the-top with their brand/retail approach.
So, unless you have over 250 employees and generate over $100 million in revenue, don’t put your eggs on the funny advertising basket.
Follow the Priorities Formula: Inform. Inspire. Entertain.
Outside of actors, singers, and comedians – entertainment should not be the main priority when it comes to your presentations. You should make your advertising engaging, but the central focus must be informing and inspiring your prospects.
Your target audience will not hire you because they want to hang out with you. Nor visit your website because of your jokes. Your prospects are reaching out to you because they have a need or desire that you can fulfill. And thus, your marketing and advertising should emphasize those concerns.
When you visit this website, you’re not coming over to read about gossip and watch a 5-minute standup routine. You’re here because:
- you want to learn about direct response copywriting and marketing,
- you’re looking for new, inspiring ideas to apply on your campaigns, or
- you need the services of a copywriter who knows about financial services.
If I address anything other than those three points, you will leave as soon as you get in because I’m not addressing your concerns. And if you get too creative and stop treating the interests of your market, your audience will leave you just as quickly.
Remain focused. Use your advertising to inform and inspire your market on what your market needs or wants from you. And add a sprinkle of occasional fun to keep the audience engaged without abandoning the subject.
If You Will Add Entertainment to Your Advertising, Then Let It Be Dramatic
Do you still want to present creative advertising copywriting? Go for drama instead of comedy – craft a story that keeps the reader hooked to your presentation from beginning to end.
When you focus on comedy, you are just bringing people in for the punchline. Once you deliver the punchline, they’re gone. And they might not come back until you promise another punchline that makes them giggle.
With drama, on the other hand, you present a relatable story. You make the reader feel like a hero. And your offer shines as a practical problem-solver.
You keep the reader hooked to your presentation from start to finish. Let me give you an example.
My favorite scene of any movie (EVER!) is Rocky 1. They’re in the 12th round, and Apollo Creed knocks Rocky down. You get this dramatic scene of the referee counting Rocky down while he is just trying with all his might the get back up. And the corner keeps yelling, “stay down!”.
As a viewer, I am waiting in anticipation to see if Rocky will get back to his feet. The movie has me hooked from the moment he guts it out until the end of the fight. To me, that’s exciting.
That’s fun. And the movie didn’t need to crack a joke or do something outlandish to keep my attention. The producers of Rocky told a story I cared about.
If you want to get creative, go for the drama. Tell your market a relatable story that allows the audience, as well as your product, to shine through.
About Creative Advertising Copywriting
Starting today, you should have a completely different viewpoint on the use of creative advertising copywriting. If you’re not a large corporation – avoid it for the time being! Instead, follow the priorities formula or informing, educating, and then entertaining. But, if you feel like your ad is a bit flat, then bring it to life with drama – not a comedy – that allows the market and your offer shine.
Do you have a comment or question about creative advertising copywriting? Leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!