Are you a “boiler”?

I think I’ve been an advertising copywriter too long. Is 40 years a long time? It seems that every time I see a video commercial, log into a website, listen to a podcast, even engage in a conversation, I’m getting impatient and begging the marketer to just make clear what they are trying to say. “Just boil down the message to the essentials!”, I scream.

Recently I saw a T-shirt that had a saying I love. Printed on the chest was, “And your point is?”
Boy did that resonate with me. I know we live in a short-attention span society and we’re bombarded with messages day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. The amount of marketing doesn’t bother or boggle me. It’s wading through the cute, clever, obtuse messages that test my nerves

Important information or details I’m fine with digging into and taking the time to understand. But a message about shampoo or chips or beer? Just give me a good reason why I should spend my money to buy the product and what it will to improve my life. Is that asking too much? If the reason is good enough I’ll spend the money and give you my patronage.

When Covid showed up and I was doing all of my creative and teaching work remotely, I decided to put my impatience where my mouth was. So I wrote a textbook about copywriting and how to write marketing messages that achieve a solid business result.

No, I’m not writing this to sell a textbook. I’m writing this to make the point that if a message can’t be said in 30 seconds (the length of the traditonal TV commercial) then it’s not worth saying. Your audience will wander away, mentally or even physically, to a subject that interests them.

A good boiler should know not to try to stuff 6 lbs. of baloney into the 5 lb. bag. Condense, revise, edit, revise, compress, revise and eventually you’ll have a point that will stick into your target when it’s finally launched on the media of your choice.

Sorry if this took too long to explain. I might have to go to my point sharpener.


About nhbrownlee

Advertising copywriter, Creative Director and state of New York college professor. I love true stories. Who doesn't?
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