Two Types of Copy

THERE are, indeed, but two basic copy appeals. That which appeals to the intellect is called "reason why;" and that which appeals to the fancy or emotions is termed by some "emotional" copy.

Duofold copy is a combination of these two. Its writer believed that both appeals would be effective, and thus the responsive impulses of the largest number of readers could be touched.

To appeal to the senses, the emotion, the fancy, copy must attain vividness. To appeal to the intellect, it must present logical argument-reasons.

Now, the first task of the advertising writer is to build a case for his product, much as the lawyer does for his client. One appeals to judge and jury, the other to the court of public opinion. So the prime essential of a good advertisement is the major conception, or idea.

The second essential is the expression of the idea, and expression is attained through the medium of white space in combination with type or illustrations, or in combination with both. The form of the advertisement is termed the "layout," and this in itself is often one means of expression. To what degree an advertisement yields results depends on the strength of its major idea and the power of the expression to awake desire and to carry conviction.

Hence in copy writing, as in rhetoric, technique is a cardinal requisite to good work. Yet the product of some of the most successful advertising writers would not pass muster with rhetoricians. Many coined words, idioms and figures of speech which may not be sanctioned by "good use" are effectively used in advertising, but are also badly overworked. Taste must be exercised, exaggeration avoided.

Some good advertising writers believe that in advertisements which are devoid of illustrations, or which is illustrated merely the article advertised, the heading or caption ranks 90% in importance, the text only 1O%. Certain it is the heading of the advertisement is much the most vital part. Nowhere better than in mail order advertising is this fact demonstrated. Too many writers of publicity copy lack the training of "traced result" experience.

The art of advertising expression employs the principles of rhetoric, and more, the strategy of salesmanship. Without this, a master of King's English and Composition is a babe in the Advertising Woods.

He must have vision, he must know his audience-the language people speak to-day, their thoughts, their problems, their aversions, their pleasures, their ambitions, their vanities, their sympathies, their superstitions, their sentiments, their habits, their inclinations and desires, and their reactions. He should be able to sense all the nuances which play along the whole chromatic scale of life and human nature.

Thus may he project himself into the shoes of his reader and build his appeal from the reader's standpoint. The self-interest of the manufacturer of the article advertised should be submerged. Too often it is not-too often it is the dominant note in advertising, for too often manufacturers who know little of advertising insist on this.

Examine the Duofold advertising; do you find this fault? Does it measure up to good copy ideals? The writer intended that it should.

To gain freshness and arouse new interest, he coined a new fountain pen lexicon-Compare the Duofold copy with fountain pen advertising in the magazine files of 1921 and earlier. Has the Duofold copy not brought into use many new terms, such as these:

balanced swing

super-smooth point

over-size ink capacity

flashing black tips

The HE-pen

writing urge

classic symmetry

via Duofold.

Do these not appeal more strongly to the imagination than commonplace fountain pen shop-talk? Rhetoric tells us that strong effects are attained by appropriate but moderate use of simile, metaphor, personification, synecdoche, metonymy and other figures of speech. It may he interesting to note how they are employed in Duofold advertising to gain vividness, to stir the imagination or to make the reader feel the sensations wanted in a pen. Examples:

Metonymy-- "Wall Street or Main Street, it's the reigning favorite"

Personification--"Courtesy writes its intimate letters by hand!"

(Rhetoricians might argue that "its" is incorrect, because personification requires either the masculine or feminine personal pronoun. But advertising license steps in and overrules rhetoric, believing 11that either ''his'' or ''her'' would limit the attention value of the heading to men, or to women, whereas ''its'' is an all inclusive to a mixed audience.

Simile--''A point as smooth as a polished jewel bearing"

Metaphor-- "A super-smooth pen gives thought free rein."

Numerous other examples may be noted if the student but looks for them; and as for expressions which stir the imagination, appeal to the fancy, and at once present "reason why" arguments for purchase, here are a few of many:

"A point that needs no 'breaking in.'"

"Itsblack-tipped lacquer red barrel is not ouly handsomer than gold--it makes this a hard pen to lose."

"Its lacquer-red barrel abounds with Christmas cheer."

"Hands crave the over-size pen as they crave a balanced golf stick."

"No style of writing can distort the Duofold point-hence a pen you can lend without fear. What other pen dare you pass from hand to hand?"

"Its over-size barrel holds a long-distance ink supply."

Note how the Duofold copy has the effect of establishing the value of the pen-for value must be established to justify the price.

Note also the absence of such trite generalities as "fine workmanship." "serviceable," "reliable," etc., with which mediocre copy is replete. Does not the Duofold copy make the reader draw the conclusion of "fine workmanship?" How much stronger is this than to state conclusions which may or may not be believed, and which nine times out of ten may suggest to the reader’s mind manufacturer's self-interest, or his zeal in his own achievements, which will not be taken seriously by a sophisticated public.

Which is the more effective:

"62 Men in 100 Picked this Over-size Pen"


"This Pen Appeals to the Majority"

Again, good advertising strives to effect the conclusions in the readers mind; it avoids stating conclusions.

Indeed the public has become blase in the matter of advertising just as it has in many matters. The aeroplane that would make a whole city look skyward a few years ago now gets but passing notice; the latest jazz dance that received front page position in the newspapers is now mentioned in their columns only incidentally. A few years back the woman or girl who lighted a cigarette created a stir in the cafe. To use the vernacular of the street people are too ''hard boiled'' today to get a thrill from spectacles which created sensations yesterday.

For the average citizen advertising, as advertising, has lost its magic. To get and hold his attention it must rise far above the commonplace. And it must render him a service.

A few people may puzzle over "blind" headlines, but the vast majority have too much else to do. In Duofold advertising ''blind'' captions were studiously avoided.

A good heading indicates the subject. In "traced result" advertising this kind rarely, if ever, fails to produce much greater returns than "blind" headlines that give no clue to the subject.

Different headings appeal to different people and usually present different ideas. Hence diversification is good practice, but one good caption will stand much repetition. (Some captions have been used for years in "traced results" advertising to better effect than any others tried in the meantime.)

Note also the spirit of good fellowship and cheer which radiates from Duofold copy. Seldom, if ever, does it speak disparagingly of competitive pens but everywhere it breathes the inspiration of optimism and good cheer. Advertising should never be flavorless, neither should it leave a bad taste. Moreover, each Duofold advertisement is complete in itself; it is planned to make a complete sale; it is not "serial." Enough is said to tell the story; but, without waste of time or words, this copy quickly leads the reader to the close, where the final urge sends him up to the pen counter.

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