Here’s Your Secret to Creating Breakthrough Copy

I’ve used these principles throughout my career and through their application beaten numerous creative controls. Some of them have survived as controls for 10 years or more. These controls repeatedly beat innovative creative tests because they follow a small section in Bob Stones’ book published in 1984 by Crain Books and entitled Successful Direct Marketing Methods.

Bob said that the “big idea” for creating a direct response message revolves around two things people want.

1.    To gain something they do not have.
2.    To avoid losing something they already possess.

Listed below is his famous list that you will want to save and refer to as you evaluate and create response-winning copy.

The desire to gain:
To make money
To save time
To achieve comfort
To have health
To be popular
To enjoy pleasure
To be clean
To be praised
To be in style
To gratify curiosity
To satisfy an appetite
To have beautiful possessions
To attract the opposite sex
To be an individual
To emulate others
To take advantage of opportunities

The desire to avoid loss:
To avoid criticism
To avoid effort
To keep possessions
To avoid physical pain
To avoid loss of reputation
To avoid loss of money
To avoid trouble

Stone’s listing remains pertinent regardless of all of the changes that have taken place in our industry in the last 20 years.

If you make any one of these desires your main selling proposition and support it with an offer that at least partially meets that same need or another from the above list, then you are well on your way to creating a new control.
What process do you follow on every creative project that helps you to create or evaluate winning copy?

Posted on September 11, 2007 and filed under Direct Response Creative.