Mad Men might be just that!
by Neil Kuvin
As anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Mad Men knows, ad copywriters have turned that kind of persuasion into both an art and a science. So what can Madison Avenue teach us about writing more effective news releases???
One secret that advertising copywriters have long known is that the benefits of a product or service are far more compelling to potential customers than its features.
Does a news release suffice as an ad for your client or your agency? Of course not. Any journalist will emphatically tell you, a news release is not ever to be considered an advertisement. An ad is a paid media message over which the buyer has essentially complete control. A news release is a suggestion for an article, TV news story or other media coverage.
However, from a business perspective, the two often have the same objective: to raise awareness about a product or service and persuade consumers to buy it. Of course with your company logo on the release, your face and your legitimacy as a purveyor of legitimate “news” is hanging out for all to see.
What’s the difference between focusing on features or driving the copy with benefits? Features describe the positive qualities of a product or service. Benefits describe the ways those qualities positively affect the consumer—usually by making his or her life better or easier.?? For example, a car’s features might include side airbags, a 250-horsepower engine and a 70-cubic-foot cargo area. But its benefits are that it’s safe, fun to drive and roomy enough to bring three kids, two dogs and a pumpkin pie to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
I recently saw an ad for a self-storage facility whose features included clean, well-lighted facilities, 24-hour security and a convenient location. But the ad’s headline—“Reclaim your Garage!”—focused on a single, compelling benefit.
As the “mad men” of Mad Men have shown time and again, the making of sausage is not what you want to see before you order breakfast.