We all have ads we remember throughout our lifetime, and the better ones help define a brand for decades. While celebrity endorsements and big budgets can help boost the signal, it would all be for nothing without clever ad copy.
While the best ad copy creates some kind of reaction through humor or even serious facts, it is all designed to grow revenue through sales or donations (for non-profits.)
Here are some examples of how ad copy works, what makes it resonate, and which brands are using it in incredible ways.
What is ad copy?
Ad copy is a specific type of writing that marketers use to get readers to engage with and eventually buy from a brand. It’s made to stand out and comes with a clear call to action in most cases.
Ad copy is used traditionally in print advertising but has moved into the online space as the text used in search ads, social media ads, and website ad copy.
Excellent ad copy examples
From print magazines to Twitter threads, these brands made waves with their excellent use of words. Anyone wondering how to write ad copy that sells should pay attention.
A simple Twitter poll received crazy press and over 900,000 votes when it asked if people would go for the idea of mayo and ketchup mixed into one product.
While the “yes” votes didn’t come out to be much more than the “nos,” the stage was set for a viral buzz that helped the product when it finally launched later that year. The ad copy worked well because it capitalized on user engagement and kept the words to a minimum.
Karmarama’s “That’ll do”
When this UK-based ad agency placed a message on a billboard, it wasn’t the copy that was all that original. Rather, they wrote the copy backward so that it showed up correctly only when looking at it in the rearview mirror.
This clever copy tactic seems very appropriate, given it was a message bidding the crazy year of 2020 farewell.
Super Coffee’s open-source code
It’s rare that a brand openly calls out a competitor, but that’s just what Super Coffee did when it took out ads in major newspapers addressing Starbucks specifically and directly readers to a special site listing all of Super Coffee’s ingredients.
What was missing from those ingredients? Sugar. The ad sought to address the industries increasing caloric trends while also using clever copy written to look like source code from a website. Both the form and message certainly catch the eye.
How to write ad copy that sells
Looking for sure-fire tips for writing ad copy? There’s no one-size-fits-all secret, but these strategies can help you make your mark.
Know your audience
It shouldn’t have to be said, but marketers don’t always know who is truly buying their product, and this can lead to a messaging mismatch.
Before the first word is ever put down on the screen, get an idea of who is likely to see your ad, how they came to know about your product, and what solution they hope to find with your brand.
There have been endless stories of brands missing the mark by assuming their audience is one type of shopper while not realizing a completely different shopper was seeking them out. Skip this faux pas by doing your due diligence.
Know your platform
When creating ad copy for social media, you’ll need to be even more punchy and concise than creating a long-form ad in a newspaper or magazine.
Even within social, nuance exists; Facebook ad copy will look much different than Twitter ad copy, for example.
This rule will require you to stay on trend as much as possible, since social media advertising rules and best practices change by the week.
You may have the best product in your niche, but it’s not always enough to drive sales. To make your brand copy snappy and effective, use one of these tricks for compelling action:
- Scarcity. There’s a reason limited-edition merchandise sells out so quickly; people are scared they will miss out. Can you replicate this behavior with your brand’s offerings?
- Limited-time. In addition to creating fewer of an item, you might try shortening the window to buy or to get access to a discount or add-ons. Whether you opt to sell at 50% off for the next three days or give your buyers a free gift with purchase, make it clear what they miss by not acting quickly.
- Exclusivity. Being part of the in-crowd is a desire many people have. Can your offering give them access to a special group of buyers? Designer brands are good examples of how this is being done today, and they use ad copy to get it done.
- Personalization. Can you give your customers a unique buying experience that fits them perfectly? Whether you offer their choice of color or let them customize the inside of a car or computer, you give them more control over the experience, which is something most everyone loves. Ad copy that reflects the power of choice can do big things.
- Engagement. People love to share their ideas. For social media ads, engaging potential customers may take nothing more than excellent ad copy. From poll questions to quizzes, phrasing questions in the right way takes talent, but the payoffs can be a lifetime connection to your brand.
Do you ever wish for an ad copy generator? While this used to be a thing of imagination, AI promises to take some of the work out of creating copy with computer-generated words based on what algorithms have identified as effective.
Unfortunately, most AI-based writing tools leave much to be desired, including a lack of understanding of how people truly speak in different situations. Since your ad copy will need to be clean, error-free, and (most of all) emotionally engaging, it’s not a job best-suited for robots. People need to feel to engage with humans.
Your ad copy team
If you don’t have the capacity to handle your ad copy, consider outsourcing the work to an experienced agency like ClearVoice, letting their team of freelancers take the burden from you so you can focus on other things.