Gone are the days when advertisements were rare, simple and explicit “advertisements” for a product, calibrated for an ad in a newspaper or for a few seconds on a state television channel! Faced with the galloping inflation of advertising content on the Internet in recent years, advertising copywriting (or “copywriting”) has become an art in its own right, between psychology and literature, at the crossroads of data and emotion.
Today, you have to target finely, stand out, reach your audience, talk about your product, but not too directly so as not to offend your reader… An arduous task, in short!
Good news: there are techniques for writing advertising texts that will hit the mark. We decline for you the main ones through our advice and examples!
1. Engage and adopt the language of your target audience
The first tip for writing advertising texts is to appeal to your target audience and adopt their language. Do you want to start writing right away? Patience: first do a thorough investigation to define your target audience precisely.
Indeed, to each age, to each social group, even to each professional category correspond collective representations, habits of thought and linguistic codes that go with it. Why is this so important? Because these shared “ language tics ” create an unconscious complicity between members of the same group. For you who are an advertiser, they are therefore the precious sesame to show your audience that you are one of them and that you understand them.
An example: the “Brasserie Georges”
The mythical “Brasserie Georges” is a Lyon establishment which, for connoisseurs and lovers of this city steeped in history, is a gastronomic reference. The core of its clientele is made up of well-to-do, cultured and mature Lyonnais. The advertisement for the restaurant reads: “Brasserie Georges: good beer and good food since 1836”.
How does it work? The continuation of the tradition is displayed with the number “since 1836”. Then, the nod to French lexical and gastronomic culture (notably Rabelais) via an old word is ensured by “good food”. Finally, the alliteration in [b] and the rhythmic balance “good beer”/“good food” gives harmony to the message .
This is how, in a few words, the “Brasserie Georges” creates a bond as solid as it is unconscious with its future clientele.
Another example: the restaurant Big Fernand
Big Fernand is a brand that caters to a young and rather affluent urban clientele, lovers of the taste of hamburgers, but distant from mainstream fast-food brands like McDonald’s or Burger King. This is why Big Fernand hits the bull’s eye by subtitling its sign “l’atelier du Hamburgé”, which humorously de-Americanizes the “hamburger”.
Big Fernand also knew how to capture, in writing, the oral language tics of the moment (“so”) to better convey government announcements of health restrictions: “so, how are things going with the pass? ”
One more case: the Ubac brand
Engaging the public can even go as far as including it in the product creation process. This is the bet made by the young brand of eco-responsible wool and hemp sneakers Ubac.
Ubac highlights the “Coming soon” section on its site, with the following text:
“The product that pollutes the most is the one that stays at the back of the cupboard.
We are not interested in creating products that you will not wear!
We want to involve you in the heart of our new projects.
Here, you can give your opinion on the development of new materials,
colors and the shapes of future Ubac products.”
A skilful way of addressing “consum’actors”, and of putting the customer’s creativity in the spotlight at the same time as its own products.
2. Shorten the subject, for a direct style
“Shorten the subject”: the advice can surprise. However, it corresponds to the cruel reality of the Internet: there is too much content. Less is more : in order not to tire or even “blind” your reader, the simplicity of the message becomes the real luxury.
A memorable example of a very brief advertising message was given by Ikea in a German catalog.
On a page showing a cozy Ikea living room, we read these two words of a dialogue:
“- Warum? – Darum! ” (” Why because ! “).
With this powerful message, comfort is shown as obvious. This message also takes up the archetype of a dialogue between a parent and a child at the age of “why? ”.
Finally, internal rhyme in German lends musicality to the message.
This seemingly simple commercial actually combines brevity, knowledge of its audience (middle-class parents with young children) and musicality.
3. Convince by reason
The poetry of the message and the imitation of the language of its target is very good. But you have to think about all the psychology. Some readers are going to be more rational than others. This is why it is interesting to attach to your advertising message short objective elements which will tip the scales in your favor and which will trigger a purchase.
Terms like “Satisfied or refunded”, “Cheaper elsewhere? We’ll refund you the difference” are not original, but continue to work.
Why ? Because they give rise to a quick unconscious risk/benefit calculation for the reader: “if the seller was not sure of the quality of his product, he would not take such a risk, so I can buy with confidence” .
You can go higher on the rational validity of your promise of reimbursement: “reimbursement subject to a notarial deed” to overcome the last resistances of an “analytical” type reader.
4. Touch by emotion
This will seem provocative to you, but to succeed in the internet advertising jungle, you have to talk about something other than your products.
Give people what they want to hear: stories . Current consumer demands are moving towards greater social and environmental responsibility. It’s more than a product that they buy: it’s the story that this product tells. They want to give meaning to their purchase: you must therefore take this dimension into account in the construction of your message.
As such, storytelling (telling the birth of a project, the story of a brand, its personal, geographical and historical anchoring) is formidable for touching the public through emotion and creating the beginning of attachment.
An example: MCD cabinetmaker fitter
Let’s take the case of a local cabinetmaking company: MCD cabinetmaker fitter.
Faced with the price war opened by the anonymous giants of mass-produced furniture, its asset is its human, local and artisanal dimension, as shown by the storytelling of its site:
Even as a child, I bore the nickname Marie-la-bricole.
The game then was to grow: in adolescence, the “bricole” turned into a pronounced taste for woodworking and art veneer.
I am from a time when teenagers were readily discouraged from engaging in a manual trade: here I am a manager in Lyon. I climb the ladder. The forests are moving away.
This contact with nature is restored when I leave everything to choose to settle in Normandy in August 2013.
I feel ready to retrain, enroll in the Risle-Seine high school in Pont-Audemer and obtain my cabinetmaking CAP in one year.
At the same time, I was accepted as an intern at Hervé-cabinetmaker, based in Paris on avenue Daumesnil on the Viaduc des Arts.
In contact with an inventive boss trained at the Boulle school, and a workshop foreman Compagnon du Devoir, I learned a taste for materials and a sense of high standards.
After three years at their side, it was in Bernay in the Eure that I decided to set up on my own: MCD cabinetmaking was born in September 2018.
5. Risk humor
Finally, the most seasoned copywriters will venture into a field as dangerous as it is fruitful: humour! It can be a formidable weapon to counter criticism in advance.
Thus, Citroën chooses to immediately display the apparent defect of its model without a Citroën Ami license, to better promote it: “Yes, it looks like a toaster, that’s why you can buy it at Darty”.
The vehicle rental company Sixt has chosen to stand out from the competition with a bold touch of humor surfing on controversial European news: “Dear English people, disappointed by Brexit? Rent a Break Sixt!”.
Linguistic mimicry, “punched” brevity, rational arguments, appeal to emotion or even humorous teasing: all of our advice and examples for writing advertising texts are in line with the understanding of your audience and the pleasure of reading.
A text written not only according to the rules of language, but also according to the hidden springs of psychology has every chance of being an effective advertising message.