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Wizard of Ads

How To Write Effective Copy In 2013


Elmer Zubiate (Zoo-be-AH-tay) grew up embarrassed that his name was Elmer. After losing everything he owned in 2005, Elmer started a little HVAC company. Last year he decided to make the most of the Elmer thing.  This is the 30-second spot he put on the radio:

Theres Elmer Fudd, Elmers Glue, and Elmer me, Elmer Zubiate of Elmers One-Hour Air Conditioning and Heating. Well be there within one hour of the time we promised you, or whatever you need is free. No charge. Theres no way youre going to wait for us all day. Great prices. Fabulous service. Elmers One-Hour. Dial two one oh, thirty-three Elmer.

Two one oh, thirty-three Elmer

Last year One-Hour Elmer did $3.8 million, and hes trending toward $6 million in 2013. We have every expectation that hell bag $12 million in 2015. Elmer tapped in to the four principal indicators of successful ads for 2013.

The most effective ads today tend to share the following characteristics:

1. Intimacy. The ads reveal the advertiser to be vulnerable and imperfect, but openly willing to admit it. This is the signal of a friend to a friend. We dont hide our imperfections, or our insecurities, from people we trust.

2. Authenticity. The ads are unposed, occasionally even awkward. Polished and professional comes across today as phony and pretentious.

3. Pace. The ads employ a series of rapidly evolving mental images. Big things happen quickly. Big thoughts are compressed into few words.

4. Details. The ads dont make vague claims or use ambiguous terms. Specifics are always more believable than generalities.

Richard Kessler is known around the world as an extraordinarily successful jeweler. Here are a couple of the 60s hes currently airing:

Three quarters of a carat is a big diamond. It will take your breath away. And a matching pair will take away yours and hers.

Put three quarters of a carat on each of her pretty earlobes and then look over her shoulder when she looks into the mirror for the first time. Youre going to remember that face forever.

This is Richard Kessler, and sometimes I get lucky. Extremely lucky.

Today Im going to share that luck with exactly 22 people. But before I continue, let me say, ladies, that you dont have to have someone else buy these for you. You can buy them yourself.

I know that. And youre going to want to. Because Im talking about a matching pair of fabulous three-quarter-carat diamonds a carat and a half total for just thirty-nine hundred dollars. Badda bing. Badda bang. But Ive only got nine pairs of those. Fortunately, Ive got 13 more pairs just a tiny bit smaller for just thirty-four-sixty. Badda boom. Today is your lucky day.

Kesslers Diamonds. Im Richard
[No location tag.]

Let me pause here for a moment to say that Im not giving you this ad copy to use for your clients. Im simply providing three concrete examples from which you can learn. All three ads are copyrighted 2012 by Roy H. Williams Marketing Inc.

I was head-over-heels in love. And I was poor. I saved up for three months before walking into that jewelry store.

I was nervous and excited and a little bit proud of myself. I walked out five minutes later, crushed and humiliated. I remember standing there on the sidewalk, looking at my shoes. The man behind the jewelry counter had looked at my shoes before he looked at my face.

He asked me why I was there.
I told him.
He asked me how much money I had.
I told him.
He rolled his eyes and said, Well, maybe theres something we can do, but I dont know....
Some things stay with you forever.

And now you know why Kesslers specializes in engagement rings. [Determined now a little bit defiant.] No one at Kesslers no one will ever look at your shoes. Or your clothes. Or the color of your credit card. The man I met that day was all about diamonds and gold. Me? Im about people and relationships. Diamonds even perfect ones are much less valuable than people.

Im Richard Kessler, and I want to be your jeweler.
[Those are the last words. No location tag. No Web address.

The story Kessler tells is absolutely true. No one can tell that story but him. Every person has a lifetime of powerful stories inside them. But how many advertisers have the courage to share something so intimate? In 2013, it will be all the successful ones.

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc. E-mail:

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