Long Copy: Alive or Dead?

STOP! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING! STOP WHAT YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW! STOP RIGHT THIS SECOND AND LOOK AT THIS AD!

This is something like the impression that advertising creatives hope to convey when they create an ad. Jolting, impressionable, and direct, something that triggers a consumer’s mind to take that extra second and switch gears to actually consider what they’re seeing. Many ads focus on the visual impact of an ad. Fearing the lack of reading interest, the copy is kept short, often only a headline or two and a quippy tagline. But since this has become the popular and almost mainstream style of advertising, does an ad really have the power to differentiate itself from everything else around it?

What about long copy? Is it worth the time to write it? It most definitely is. Whether every word is read or just the tagline, long copy can be used to make an advertisement stand out. Pete Barry’s quotation of Luke Sullivan from his book The Advertising Concept reinforces this idea: “Even if a customer doesn’t read every word, it looks like the company has a lot to say.” Long copy allows advertiser’s to tell consumers more about the proposed product and if it’s engaging enough, also allows advertisers to draw consumer’s focus and attention for a longer period of time, a successful result when most average consumers see nearly 5,000 ads a day.

Effective long copy ads express an idea or thought that is shared by the reader and is important to the reader’s individual self. People do like to read and enjoy editorial copy for that reason, so structuring advertising in a similar way helps make the message more readable and real. The Jack Daniels London Underground Tube advertisements are freuqently long copy ads, interesting and structured like a newspaper article with headlines and body paragraphs. Acknowledging commuters unavoidable time spent waiting for the next train, the advertisment effectively combines visuals with catchy copy. During my time abroad in London and the many hours spent in the Underground, I learned more about Jack Daniels than I ever thought I would and can attest to its impressionable nature. Is long copy alive or dead? Oh, it’s alive all right. Alive and kickin’.

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One thought on “Long Copy: Alive or Dead?

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this and I can confirm that I am one of those who take time to read it. It is always in black and white and you cant miss it while waiting for your train at the underground station and seems it was well places because I have not found it in the newspaper or on bill boards.

    I think the products being advertised actually means a lot, Jack Daniels is a well established brand and they don’t mind telling everyone about their stories but you wont expect an advert for toothpaste or candy to have such long copy.

    Seems long copy is good for JD and I cant see them stopping it.

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