Advertisement Writing Lessons – Copywriting for Long form Advertising

Advertisement Writing – Creativity does not work all the time. The evident need of copywriters to create content that kindles the artistic end of marketing is misplaced. “Write a shorter Copy”, “follow the KISS – Keep it short and simple”, “capitalise on the shorter attention span”; we’ve all heard the common wants of a Marketing Copy. Long form copywriting was in action way back in the infancy of marketing when flyposts were a thing. There’s a reason why Rolls Royce went with this compared to Volkswagon’s “Lemon” – “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls Royce comes from the electric clock”. So what went wrong with long-form copywriting?

Eventually nothing! Fools Gold is all that happened. We got carried away with the onset of digital and micro-communication platforms. While it was a new audience, a worthy opponent and a way for the Gen-Y to compete with the original MadMen; it was not a ‘one fits all’ solution. A Steel Pipe Manufacturer is not going to buy your HR coils based on a 280 character advertisement. What is it that you associate an Amul advertisement with, television and billboards or twitter and instagram?

Are you watching closely – Long Copy speaks in Volume!

Also Read: 5 Inspirations to Write Daily

Why Long Advertisement Writing still works?

Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2020 states that more than 70% of ADEX (advertisement expenditure) goes to television and print media channels. Long form advertising for Ecommerce in Print Media grew by almost 18% in the financial year 2019-20. Why? Because they serve more eyeballs, more penetration, and better response rates. Top quartile of the regular ad spending community confirms that T.V.-Print-Radio channels ensure an average 10% engagement rate against average 1-2% of digital channels.

Advertisement Expenditure – Role of Long Advertisement Writing in India

Adex Channel Share of Adex (IN – FY2019/20) Copywriting practices (max. share)
Television 37% Long Copywriting
Print Media 30% Long Copywriting
Radio 3% Long Copywriting
Cinema 2% Long Copywriting
Digital Media 23% Short Copywriting
Outdoor 5% Short Copywriting

Source: Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2020

Comparison between Long Advertisement Writing and Short Advertisement Copywriting

It’s not like there needs to be an ideological dissonance between long copywriters and short copywriters. “Just don’t write for a stadium,” said David Ogilvy, the superman of all copywriters in the world. Here’s what he probably meant when he said that:

David Ogilvy ‘The Guru’ on Long Advertisement Writing!

Short copies convey a generic message

Short copywriting is meant to convey a message for all, something that everyone gets. Such a message is tough to personalise. Long copies offer scope for more personal attribution. For a communication format that’s mostly dependent on gerunds and intransitive verbs; short copywriting offers limited scope to introduce a personal comment.

Optimise delivery channels for your copywriting

Delivery Channels have always been critical to the success of any advertisement copywriting. With longer ad copies, multiple brand messages can be clubbed in one. Shorter copies carry one, maybe two messages at a time. Longform advertising has no such limits. And no one with a magic marketing orb attached to the typewriter, can imagine how a consumer is going to take a copy. So, it’s often better to capitalise on the fact that we have their attention rather than the span of it. The Rolls Royce above – can reach 90 miles an hour, has an embedded electric clock – and is ‘Noise-Less’. While Volkswagen had just ‘Lemon’, only interested ones were going to read it.

Long Form Advertisement Writing – Which one would sell?

Relation between long copywriting and direct response advertising

Even if one thinks in terms of how advertising has changed today they’d find less sales centric advertising and more entertainment on the block. Anyone who has written for surveys, email marketing, outdoor marketing has a fair idea that well-explained, thorough, informational copy sells better. Imagine what would a ‘Pay-Per-Click ads’ do without a landing page, sales enablement team or user experience. As David said, “A Short Copywriter has not tasted the blood yet, he is still perhaps impressed with the reputation of creativity – whatever that means.”

WWC Extras – View the complete video of Copywriting Guru – David Ogilvy on Writing Short Copies and Direct Response Advertising.

3 More reasons to choose Long form Advertisement Writing

If Ogilvy fails to capture your imagination with the context of what current times have to offer, here are some more reasons for your business to choose longer copies for advertising.

  • Nielsen reports that the least trusted form of advertisement across the globe is text messages or SMS. Only 36% of customers trust any sales pitch received as a text message. Source: Nielsen Advertising Report.
  • In India, long form advertising is slated to receive a huge reception in the coming years especially after the recent implementation of National Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0. Zee News with Madison India confirmed that increased viewership owing to decreased television subscription fare will amount to more eyeballs, more impressions and attribution points for T.V. and OTT (over-the-top) media audience.
  • Longtail keyword search dominates 70% of total online search volume (ecommerce, hospitality, travel, and lifestyle) today. With a significant difference in click-through-rate (CTR) – an additional 3-5% to be precise – results have to optimise for long ad copies that use long string search queries.

Others are reading – How digitalization of marketing can help you business?

Advertisement Writing Marvels – Food for thought!

Guide to implementing longform advertisement writing

Using long form copywriting is required in many ways and harmless in others. Not all businesses are capable of implementing unconventional copywriting, nor all businesses should. Fast moving products that have a relatively elastic demand cannot win with long copies. Customers cannot stand to read more when they already know the product and make a daily choice about it.

Similarly, luxury-expensive-unique products with inelastic demand, niche consumers and detailed product attributes cannot work with short copies. Short copies are incapable of bringing such consumers to the store. They’re good for a jolly at-home engagement but what sells is ‘Long Advertisement Writing’.

Advertising Copywriting is rocket science! Yes, it is. Considering it as just putting words to a product or service is dumping your money for matching the mob. Take the time to know how your business is writing its copies this season. Talk to a copywriting expert, preferably with someone who has worked in the Direct Response Advertising. Most of all, embrace the true power of long form copies and for a moment put aside the beauty of short form copies. Because if we don’t sell someone else will.


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