The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Turn the fine print into bold print

Nobody reads the fine print except me. That’s not a true statement, but you ought to assume it is true if you’re in the business of writing commercial advertising copy. The second thing, it’s good to remember is that nobody likes being surprised and embarrassed.

My spasm of inspiration comes today courtesy of my inbox, and today’s deal from Groupon. The title of the deal, as posted on Goupon, “$10 for $20 Worth of Eclectic Fare and Drinks at The Bard’s Town.” It is from a local Louisville Bardstown Road pub coyly named The Bard’s Town Pub. The offer is to spend $10 today and get $20 worth of beer and burgers no sooner than tomorrow. That’s what the extra-fine print says. “Can’t use until day after purchase.”

Remember rule number one: Nobody reads the fine print.

Here’s the scenario. Some guy is going to buy this deal and take a girl to The Bard’s Town Pub tonight on a date. All the while he is feeling smug about being able to afford to take a girl to The Bard’s Town Pub on a date, not knowing the clock is ticking like a time bomb strapped to his self-esteem.   The moment is soon approaching when the waiter will tell the young man, “Your really good deal is no damn good until tomorrow.”

Why go through that at all?  You know it will happen.  Instead, put the limitation in the headline offer: Spend $10 today for $20 worth of beer and burgers tomorrow.  It works, and you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary trouble.

Oh, forget about “Eclectic Fare” and stick to “Beer and Burgers.”  That’s what’s in your ad image.

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Written by Tom Fox

08/20/2010 at 10:10 am

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