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I wrote the following about six months ago as I was first discovering advertising and account planning.

"I almost liken advertisements to poems. There is such an economy of language. The words and images chosen for an ad must be powerful and exact. I am not a poet, however, so I am exploring the field of account planning. The combination of psychology, business, creative, analytic and research disciplines totally gets me jazzed."

Now after being a part of the APSotW, I am realizing that if I want to succeed I will have to become a poet after all because the thinking before the execution must be as crafted and poignant as the resulting ad.

What about copy? As a (danish) copywriter I've often wondered why so much writing in advertising is so loose and without rhythm. The weird idea that no one reads the actual text in the ad shouldn't be an excuse. Fry's book seems like a good read for (english/american) copywriters. Once again your advice goes beyond planning, Russell.

A great spot as always Russell. I had exactly the same thought as I read the introduction to the Ode Less Travelled.
The best headlines, straplines and propositions all have a poetic element to them.

As usual Russell
Useful pointers and reading
Have Merry Xmas


Oh and...

I know these two are old and overused examples of taglines and copy. But look at the poetry and rythmn in them:

For mash get smash

A Mars a day helps you work rest and play

I think that was one thing that DDB were very good at in the 70s and 80s, especially in print ads. Their copy would flow and have a rythmn that makes people want to read it even though it was an ad.

It used to be that many of the old UK public information films - TV ads paid for by the government about things like the country code, pelican crossings, factory safety and how to avoid drowning in ponds - often had a voice-over in the form of a poem. I can still remember big chunks of them by heart from over 20 years ago. For example, this one was about wearing protective headgear:

Sir Isaac Newton told us why
An apple falls down from the sky.
So if at work you drop a spanner,
It travels in a downward manner,
And every common working tool,
Is governed by the self-same rule.
A brick, a bolt, a bar, a cup,
Invariably falls down not up...

I could go on.

Despite the fact that I can't remember my own mobile number, these V/O poems have stuck in my head for decades. Rhyme and rhythm are clearly powerful devices for building memorability. I wonder why we use them so infrequently in ads now? Probably because they seem, like jingles, old-fashioned and uncool.

I think thats mainly because everyone started using them... and mostly badly.

My favourite PIF line has to be the wonderful:

"Excuse me sir if I enquire, but isnt that your house on fire?"

If you check out www.tv-ark.org.uk Neil, there's plenty of those PIF's to relight your memories!

That could work well for the Pizza Hut ads, in the vein of the Maths one too. One too...one two... hehe.

The trick with planning specifically is not to make something too poetic because then the creatives will reject it because it's too much like actual creative work. You want the rhythm and maybe some internal hlaf-rhymes, just enough to make it memorable and striking - but not so much that the creatives accuse you of writing taglines.

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