A Funny Sign You Saw Is Not Good Copy

Abigail Adams

“We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.” – Abigail Adams, Born Dec. 22, 1744.

In our line of work, it can be easy to be attracted to other ads that are clever, or funny.

We envy the creativity of their writers and conceivers.

We mentally (or even physically) stick onto these attention grabbing, curiosity triggering memetic ads and think we have found something valuable…

And you MAY have…

…But only MAYBE.

Only one thing makes a persuasive piece of copy matter – only one measure defines success or not.

Did it convert?

Did it make readers take the desired, measurable action in sufficient numbers to make it profitable to run?

That's it.

Laughs can't pay bills. Appreciations of cleverness are not deposit-able in the bank.

Beauty, art, elegance – writing is capable of all of these. You can be moved to tears by an advertisement. But if you and no one else actually RESPOND then it's not a good ad to note. Don't learn from it. Don't copy it.

Look, MAYBE someone could take a funny, cute failure and repurpose it into a winner.

But in less time, you could just find funny, cute winners to emulate and model and learn from instead.

Now, I'm definitely not saying not to laugh and enjoy good writing when you find it. Appreciate cleverness for its own sake. Please. You should.

But what I am warning against is infecting your copywriting mind with the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Focus on KNOWN conversion.

Insist on keeping your idea file filled only with ideas that have been PROVEN to work. Seek to understand why – targeting and delivery are just as important as the ad itself. Who was it meant for? Who saw it? When? Where? How often? In what context?

But ultimately it's only worth digging into the answers to those questions IF YOU KNOW it converted. If it didn't work, chuckle and move on.

Actions are important. If our words didn't inspire action, then they didn't work. Period.

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