How much more can I say about dog food?

As a follow up to our print ad assignment for class, our instructor had us build out a landing page, and eBlast, and a radio spot for a product we use every day. Here are my final copy components:

[Class Assignment: Landing Page]
Landing Page
We’ve Got Your Dog’s Fine Dining Covered
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Bison Dry Formula
What’s that mouth-watering aroma wafting through the kitchen air? Is it a casserole baking in the oven? Nope. It’s your dog’s dinner.
Tonight, let Fido feast on baked Bison and succulent Sweet Potato.
Not All Kibble is Created Equal
Responsible dog owners know that most dog foods contain fillers like corn that harm your pet’s health. Natural Balance kibble is made with two vital ingredients: bison, a rare farm-to-table protein source, and sweet potato, a root vegetable carbohydrate. Our kibble is scientifically formulated to provide all-natural, complete, and balanced nutrition for all stages of your pet’s life.
Treat Your Dog to a Healthy Dinner Tonight
Finally! A food for my finicky dogs. Now they have something to wag their tails about when its time to prepare their dinner.
-Tiffany D
Your food is amazing! It’s full of all the right ingredients and has great nutritional value.
– Andy Z
Class Assignment eBlast
[subject line]
Receive 50% off Natural Balance Products Today
Doggy Indulgence Without the Guilt
Now that Fido has feasted on our kibble, continue to pamper your pooch’s palette with other Natural Balance Bison & Sweet Potato flavored products:
  • Canned Wet Food
  • Premium Food Rolls
  • Jerky Bars
  • Biscuits
  • Bones
Receive 50% off Natural Balance treat products with your purchase of any Natural Balance Bison & Sweet Potato dry formula bag.
Redeem this offer now [click here]
Class Assignment – Radio Spot
What’s your dog having for dinner tonight? Not all kibble is created equal. Skip the corn-filled doggy junk food and pamper your pooch’s palette with Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Bison, a limited ingredient diet that satisfies even the most finicky eaters. Let Fido feast on a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet formulated for all stages of your pet’s life. Give your dog something to wag his tail about. Go to: natural-balance-inc-dot-com today for your free sample.
[80 words]

Do Your Know Who is Sending Your eBlasts?

Before I started taking this promotional copywriting class, I didn’t scrutinize my company’s practice for sending out eblasts. Sure, I wrote catchy subject lines for our eblasts, but I never asked a crucial question: who is the email coming from? It’s important for the copywriter to know who the sender of the email is because it effects what your subject line should say.

For example, our marketing department did not supply me with the FROM information for a golf invitational registration confirmation, so I couldn’t tell whether to insert the entire name of the event or not into the subject line. When I found out that the sender was National University Golf Academy, I quickly figured out how to write the subject line: “You’re Confirmed for the February 11th Invitational Golf Tournament”
This seems like such as minor detail to focus on, but if you don’t have a logical and compelling subject line, then your emails won’t be opened. People happily delete hundreds of emails a day, so don’t let yours get lost in the trashbin.
Happy Email Writing

Dog Food Print Ad

Today is my first attempt at writing a print ad for dog food. My homework assignment was to create a print ad for a product I use every day. Anytime I can use my dog in my homework assignment, I am pretty stoked:


Class Assignment: Print Ad
What’s Your Dog Having for Dinner Tonight?
At Natural Balance, your dog’s diet is important to us. Our Limited Ingredient Diet (L.I.D.) Sweet Potato and Bison dry formula provides high-quality nutrition for dogs with special dietary needs.
  • Grain-Free – say goodbye to Fido’s food allergies
  • Delicious flavor – picky eaters will lick the bowl clean
  • Easily digestible – no more sensitive stomachs
[photo idea]
a dog licking the bowl clean or licking his chops
[call to action]
To find a pet store near you, visit: or call: (800) 829-4493.

Competitor Running Ads

Today, a coworker gave me Competitor magazine, a publication geared towards long-distance runners like myself who find pleasure in punishing themselves by clocking hundreds of miles for no apparent reason besides that runner’s high. I find athletic magazines a gold mine for advertising ideas because they all speak to the inner spirit of the athlete: their goals, their commitment, their determination, and above all, their competitive personalities. This demographic is very similar to my demographic: people who want to better themselves through education, rather than sport.

I think runners have a strange, compelling, intricate psychology. We like to be alone when we work out and running is a meditative state that calms and centers us.

Here are some cool ads from the magazine I liked:

Brooks does a great job at jumping on the barefoot running bandwagon with this ad “Feel More with Less.”

 I like how this ad taps into what I was talking about above, our sheer joy for running:

Chocolate Milk after a workout? This ad appeals to our sense of accomplishment after a long run. Why not treat ourselves to a little bit of heavenly sweetness?

And Finally, here is my ad. Nike Frees are not typically thought of as trail or mud running shoes. I also like showing a shoe that is not in perfect condition. The reality is that runners ruin their shoes!
My headline would read: “A little bit of mud never hurt anyone”

The Happiness Factor & Coca Cola

It seems that lately our society, and our advertisers, have become intrigued with the notion of “happiness.” How do we define it? How do we acquire it? How do we keep it? And most importantly, how do we promote that our product or service will make people drunk on serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that are responsible for happiness?
Countless books have popped up on the New York Times best-seller list attempting to answer these questions: “Stumbling Upon Happiness,” by Daniel Gilbert,and both “The Happiness Project,” and “Happier at Home,” by Gretchen Rubin. They all promise greater happiness through better life choices. Personally, I don’t think you should turn “happiness” into a “project,” which makes it seem like a chore, rather than a naturally occurring thought, but that’s just me. However, if you are unhappy in your current life, you do have to put in some effort to change it.
Then came the advertisement: Coca Cola has built an entire campaign around the notion of happiness for years: “Open Happiness.”
A recent print ad read for Coca Cola read: “Happiness is BFFs.” 
This soft drink company promises us eternal happiness as long as close friends and sugary substances surround us. The creatives at least got the friendship part right. People who have strong social ties tend to be happier people. Americans and advertisers have become fascinated with the concept of happiness.
Then I watched a documentary called “Happiness,” and they featured a woman whose happiness was not a choice, it was an engrained feeling. Her face was run over by a car, and after the tragedy, she said she learned how to find more peace, serenity, and tranquility in her life. She said: “It’s weird to say this, but you could say I am happier now than I was before. I was always so driven, such an overachiever, but now I am more grounded, more centered, more content with myself.”
Doesn’t true happiness come from within? Let’s hope our target demographic never finds out…

Apple is Tipping the Tech-Life Balance

“When you think about your iPhone, it’s probably the product you use most in your life,” says a Senior Apple designer in their official iPhone 5 TV commerical launch.
Apple continues to capitalize on our society’s smart phone addiction by coming out with an upgraded iPhone every few months. We are obsessed with having the latest gadgets and afraid that if we don’t upgrade, we will be left behind with all the outdated, uncool iPhone “4ers.” The Apple commercial tells us that the “laws of physics are well, just guidelines.” Apple seems to be saying that by making their phone “bigger, yet smaller,” they have defied the laws of natures; their mobile device is somehow miraculous. What great advertising! Why? Because people keep buying them. 
Did you know that Apple stores make more money per square foot than the retailer Tiffanys? (source: Jeopardy!)
Apple has found a way to tip the tech-life balance in their favor. I get separation anxiety from my phone the same way I do with if my dog isn’t around. I need to know its accessible at all times, but why do I feel so strongly about a square interface?

Has our addiction to smartphones gotten in the way of our quality of life, our personal relationships? Or has the iPhone enhanced them?

Pandora Ads Are Annoying

I’m not sure what’s stopping me from paying Pandora to get Ad-free listening. Maybe because I grew up in the era of free music entitlement when music piracy trumped artistic copyright. When I was in college, I could instantly download whatever song I wanted and dump it into my thousands of albums with little effort and no guilt. But when Napster got into trouble, we had to start paying. People got used to purchasing songs on iTunes. The web-savvy found other means of cheating the system, but these shortcuts are hard to tamper with if your a novice Internet user.

So as a music lover, I have turned to Pandora to accompany on my long-distance runs. I love being able to set up channels so I can listen to my favorite artist. I also like how Pandora likes to guess what else I liked based on my own musical preferences. My friend Joe uses Spotify, a similar service.

But why won’t I pay for ad-free listening? It really disrupts the mood when an annoying announcer comes on to talk to me about going back and earning an online degree from a no-name university. Or Target wants to get me in the “Makeup Mood” while I’m jogging serenely to The Shins.

But I still subject myself to these ads day in and day out. Perhaps I have gotten used to the  interruptions. Or maybe because I am in the advertising business I subliminally want to listen to them. My boss tells me that it is part of my job to listen to TV commercials. I don’t really have a choice. When you are in the copywriting business, every ad, no matter what product or service in whatever medium, is relevant. A good copywriter is always paying attention to ads, even when they are in the middle of Torrey Pines running down a steep slope, jumping over tree branches. I may not buy your product, but I am always listening.

Is Advertising Art?

On the first day of class for Promotional Copywriting at UCSD’s Extension Program, my instructor made a statement that struck me as controversial. He said: “advertising isn’t art.” He explained that copywriters need to get used to the fact that our work will be judged, scrutinized, picked apart, and changed. A large part of the class is giving criticism and also being able to take it.

I think if you are a strong writer, you welcome as much feedback as you can on your work, whether it be positive or negative. Perhaps I have a bigger backbone because my master’s program is all about critiquing long bodies of mine and other students’ writing. But, just because copywriting can be critiqued and improved, doesn’t mean it isn’t art. After all, all art forms can be evaluated; if they couldn’t, a lot of art critiques would be out of a job. All writing, whether it be a book, a blog, a newspaper article, or a print ad, can be critiqued, just like film, paintings, and photography can be. What I find so interesting about art is its ability to mix the objective with the subjective.

I recently read a book called: “Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences,” and it compared different art forms and how they have influenced each other. I was surprised to see in the book next to a TIME’s magazine photo of the twin towers exploding a comparison of a foreign airline print advertisement. It was the same twin tower buildings, but they were shot from down below so the towers looked brave and powerful, not crumbling and disastrous.

So I’ve decided that if an art critique who dedicates an entire book to critiquing various art forms considers advertising art, than so can I. If we don’t treat our profession as art, than what does it become, just another job? Advertising copywriting is creative and sometimes more difficult than other types of writing because we have to get a message across quickly and effectively before our ADD audience moves on. We have to be precise, surprising, and witty – all in a matter of a few lines.

"Find Your" Own Headlines People

 “Find Your” Own Headlines  People

I recently started writing TV commercials and have noticed that in the industry, most TV scripts have been replaced with scores. Music is speaking for the visuals now. So what is the role of the copywriter now in TV? Part of the commercial is conception and story-boarding, coming up with scenes that tell a story without words. Some commercials, like our most recent younger audience spot, is using actual text on the screen. “Your Passion” for example. We recently saw an Expedia commercial that inspired us. Each scene said “Find Your….” One was people attending a football game and the caption read, “Find Your Religion.”

After seeing this, I am seeing this tagline everywhere. Corona is using it to promote their beer on print ads and billboards, “Find Your Beach.”

A cute little boutique in Little Italy writes in their eBlast “Find Your Style.”

Why does the advertising industry constantly steal and reinvent other company’s ideas? I can’t help but want to use this phrase as a copywriter, because it works on so many levels, but advertising should be unique and copy should be original.