From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
Gary Bencivenga and Copy Clarity
Brian Kurtz still calls Gary Bencivenga the world’s #1 copywriter, even though Bencivenga is retired. Kurtz was in charge of marketing at Boardroom, one of the top direct marketing companies on the planet. Bencivenga used to write extensively for Boardroom.
I attended Kurtz’s event The Titans of Direct Marketing back in 2014. We all received, as part of the goodies, two folders of Boardroom controls, including plenty of copy from Gary Bencivenga. I’ll share some of that copy in the next few emails.
But first, let’s focus on the ad I consider one of the greatest ever written.
Click below to see it.
Focus on a couple of things here, both closely related.
First, the total clarity. I regularly see ads that are difficult to understand. This happens more often in the branding world where the copywriters are striving to be clever and impress copywriters and art directors. I regularly see headlines that have me scratching my head, wondering what the ad is actually trying to achieve. In fact, I saw an ad like that just last night when I picked up a friend from the airport. There was a big sign with a photo of a woman plus the name of the company; I'm still struggling to figure out what that company actually sells.
I even see this lack of clarity in direct response copy. Remember that we’re writing at 6th or 7th grade level. I strive to make my copy extremely clear ... so the prospect knows, with intense clarity, “when you hand over your money, here’s what you’re going to get.”
Second, the copy in the Bencivenga ad may be somewhat dense, but it’s very simple. Look at the basic “how to” headline. Look at the simple bullets. Every copywriter should strive for this clarity and simplicity. There’s no hype here and every claim is believable and backed by proof.
One more thing … check out the specificity. You see this in the headline and you see it throughout the body copy. But Bencivenga avoids having too many numbers. It’s easy to overwhelm the reader with facts and figures. There’s a balance.
This ad appeared in newspapers and magazines so it reads like an article … it’s an advertorial.
What else can you discover from this advertisement? What can you take from this ad to your copy?
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter