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Headlines, Hooks and Mechanisms—Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Published by: David Garfinkel on 08-28-2023

Three things that can make a massive difference in the response you get to your copy are your headline, your hook, and your mechanism—if you have one. (Not every promotion has a mechanism.)

When you get down to brass tacks, the big question for any one of these three things is:

How do I come up with a new one?

Because you know, as a copywriter, that a killer headline or a breakthrough mechanism can turn your promo from average or good to awesome and even spectacular.

If there were a magic pill you could take that would allow you to generate great headlines, hooks and mechanisms on demand, and there were no toxic side-effects, you’d take it, right?

Well, our expert author today has identified that magic pill. Not only that, but he can tell you how to get it for yourself.

Now this could have been an Old Masters Series, but the author is 89 years old and it looks like he’s still alive. Usually Old Masters Series shows feature authors that are no longer with us.

Today’s author is named John Adair. He’s written more than 50 books, and he has a particularly good one on real-world, practical creativity for business. Inside this book is the magic pill I was telling you about.

The book is called “The Art of Creative Thinking” and it’s one of six different books on Amazon with the same title. Fortunately it’s still in print and we’ll put a link to the correct one in the show notes.

I’ve read a lot of books on creativity, and this one stands out to me. It has both philosophy for being more creative, which we’ll call mindset today, and actions you can take, which we’ll call tips.

The one thing about the magic pill Adair offers is it’s not fast-acting. Creativity occurs on its own schedule. Actually, you can create an idea, a name, a headline, a hook really fast.

But usually it takes longer to create a good one. And to create a breakthrough one that can lead to huge sums of money… sometimes that can take even longer.

Now we did a show a few weeks ago involving creativity, and Nathan asked a very important question: What do we, as copywriters, need it for?

One reason that’s such an important question is, our distant cousins in the image and name-recognition sector of advertising and marketing often use creativity for reasons we direct response reasonable people would consider a huge waste of time and money.

So let’s answer Nathan’s question a little more fully.

Broadly speaking, a great copywriter in the 1960s, I think it might have been Ogilvy or Leo Burnett, said, “If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.”

So here are the kind of uses of creativity I have a hard time seeing as selling.

Unfortunately, what I’m about to describe is the kind of thing most people think of when you say creativity in advertising.

But these are exactly the kind of things I’m not suggesting you use what we’re going to cover today for:

1. Goofy entertaining districting gimmicks that don’t enhance the sale. Emus that ride around in fake police cars, fantasy locations people get teleported to in order to make an ad interesting, pro football stars playing golf.

Sometimes I wonder if ad agencies create this kind of foolishness because they, or their clients, are embarrassed about actually selling.

2. The second thing we’re not talking about are ridiculous claims that obviously are not true, but are entertaining in their hyperbole. Because no “reasonable person” could ever possibly believe them, advertisers are betting, they won’t get dinged under truth in advertising laws. But again, they don’t enhance the sale. These stupid claims are so ridiculous, that when you use them, they do make you look like you’re embarrassed to actually try to sell what you’re offering.

So, yes, you can use creativity to develop both of those really bad example categories of stuff, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Because you can ALSO use creativity to develop things that enhance the sale, which in turn improves the response you get from prospects, and increases your profits.

Everything we’re going to talk about today in the realm of tips and mindset fundamentals
is helpful in developing better versions of things on this list:

Big Ideas
Product names

You can apply the creativity material we talk about today to any of those.

And just coming up with a better Big Idea can revolutionize a product’s sales. The same thing is true for many of the other things on the list.

So that’s where I’m suggesting you apply new levels of creativity.

The Art of Creative Thinking, by John Adair

Keywords: old masters copywriting tips

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