Alan Rosenspan's "Improve Your Response"
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
7. Canadian Copywriters Protest
Last issue, I gave you the visual for a famous Harley Davidson ad, and I invited you to provide the headline.
The visual was a motorcycle parked inside a church, right at the altar.
Light is streaming in from the stained glass windows, and the whole feeling
of the ad is spiritual, even heavenly.
You were invited to come up with your own headline and so far,
weve received 59 of them from 7 different countries.
They ranged from the sacred to the profane. But I was amazed at the quality
of your thinking and your creativity!
(Silly me I should have used one of my current assignments for
this exercise. I would have gotten some great ideas!)
We also received a very strong protest letter from a group of copywriters.
But Ill share that with you in a few minutes.
As you know, I promised that the best headline would win
a free copy of my book, "Pushing the Envelope."
But picking the best headline was difficult, because there
were so many excellent entries. Let me give you all the finalists first,
before I reveal which one was the winner.
Please keep in mind: I chose the headlines that I liked the best. Yours may have been just as good, even if I didnt select it.
Harley-Davidson: romance may fade, but true love endures.
Even God Wants One
Guess who else wants to ride a Harley?
If it breaks, make it bigger. If it sticks out, chrome it.
It's street legal, but is it legal to marry your motorcycle?
Only He has greater power
Mercedes Benz request!
"With this bike, I thee wed."
Harley Davidson ...Hallowed Be Thy Name.
When you're THIS GOOD, you NEED a Harley!
EVEN a man of GOD needs to sin a little
A Heavenly Experience
Holy Smokes! A gift from Heaven.
On the wings of angels.
The Forbidden Fruit
On a Harley, you can go anywhere
What's Heaven without a little Hell?
Get The Spirit
We Confess, Nobody does bikes better
Come to free us
When your destination is as important as your journey...
WWJD? He'd Ride.
To Have and To Hold
And finally, the Winning Headline
"Reborn to be Wild"
Submitted by Randy Lauer. Congratulations, Randy you will receive a free copy of my book in September.
The Real Headline
"You Commit 4 out Of 7 of The Deadly Sins Just Looking at it"
The advertisement won a number of advertising awards but heres
the point: Your headlines were just as good as their headline. Some were
How were you able to come up with so many "better-than-award-winning"
Easy once you have a great visual, the headline practically writes
itself. And sometimes the best solution to an advertising or direct marketing
problem is a visual one.
Or at least, thats what I thought until I received the following
7 French Canadian Copywriters
While reading the most recent "Improve Your Response" newsletter,
your Harley Davidson Contest really caught our attention.
More specifically, the reasoning that "This exercise proves that
visuals are much more important than headlines" troubles us. While
we respect that your theories and methods have obviously lead to great
success, this thinking does a great disservice to our industry.
Many in the direct world - both agency and client side - do not understand
the concept of a concept, and see creative executions as two distinct
parts: words and pictures. Of course, those responsible for taking a strategy
and making it sing understand that the visual and copy are born from a
bigger idea - a concept developed prior to any execution.
If what youre trying to get across were true, copywriters would
become obsolete in conceptual circles, and called upon to provide copy
Art directors, as a result, could look for nice pictures in stock
photo catalogues and wait for on-strategy headlines to write themselves.
This point may seem extreme, however the one youre trying to make
is not only dangerous, it leads to half-baked, mediocre work.
It also raises questions as to whether you believe that its
So, Mr. Rosenspan, are visuals really much more important than headlines?
Cmon, were confident you can come up with something better
First and above all, let me apologize.
I too am a copywriter. I too place great value on the power of words.
I would never suggest that copy is not a critical part of any communication
- advertisement, direct mail package, or website.
Furthermore, I completely agree with you. What you call a concept
- I call an idea. And an idea is far more important than any visual or
My little exercise gives people the visual - but I now realize that
I am really giving people the idea. And once you have your idea, the words
So thank you for pointing this out to me - perhaps it wasn't as clear
as I intended.
I attach an article that I hope you will find interesting, called
"Letter to a New Copywriter."
All the best,
So what do you think?
And by the way, if you would also like a copy of the article, "Letter to a New Copywriter" just e-mail me at ARosenspan@aol.com
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