Word of the Night from Direct Response Copywriter: Verisimilitude

Verisimilitude. A word with six (count them) syllables. An important word for the direct response copywriter. Here's legendary copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis on verisimilitude.

For direct mail copy to work, it must have verisimilitude. Verisimilitude is the appearance of truth. Raw truth has weeds in it; verisimilitude is an unblemished garden.

Verisimilitude DOES NOT mean lying. It means putting the product in the best possible light...truthfully and with total veracity.

There was a car recently with an ugly rear end. The advertising agency built an entire campaign for the car aound the beauty of bottoms. Here's the ad.

I can truthfully say 'I've been writing copy for top companies for 23 years.' I've also written copy for some 'non-top' companies but there's no need to mention those.

I have written copy for a local restaurant that's in a hard-to-find location. The place is tucked away in the bowels of a suburban shopping center and there isn't even a sign on the door. Really. I could write: 'you'll never find this place, even with NASA level navigational equipment.' Instead, I wrote: 'Sir Edmond Halley's is tucked away near the rose garden at the famous Park Road Shopping Center. Think of us as a special hideaway that's a locals only secret.'

If you're in direct response marketing then it's VITAL to understand verisimilitude.


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. I increasingly specialize in sales pages and landing pages. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.