Copy in the Wild- Great Sales Copy in 3 Words or Less

car, girl, driving

Copy in the Wild is a term some copywriters use when we see examples of copy in our daily lives and it sticks with us for either really good reasons, or sometimes really bad reasons. It helps us continue to evaluate what works and why, and exposes us to different conventions of copy that can have a big impact.

Here is one example of what I think of as great copy- and it helps that I’m a consumer in the key demographic.

Copy that Speaks to my Soul

My family and I had been driving for about 4 hours on a 14 hour trip from Southern Georgia to Upstate New York to visit family, and play in the Adirondacks for a few days.  We were going to split the trip between two days because we’ve tried the one-day drive and it sucks. 

We were in the middle of nowhere on the 2-lane interstate 95 in South Carolina and I see the Howard Johnson billboard. Very Simple- all blue with white writing- and it just said: “ Waffles and Wifi” along with their familiar blue red and white logo. And in that moment, I really thought there was nothing else in the world I would rather wake up to than both of those things.  

 I’m a very food-based person. And breakfast food is life. I was IN! The only reason we didn’t actually stay at a Howard Johnson Hotel was because we didn’t stop driving for the day until we reached Maryland about 5 or 6 hours later. By that point, The Red Roof Inn was the closest place off the interstate where our 6-year-old could use a restroom. We kinda owed it to them at that point to stay. It was the worst.

But here we are, several months later- living in a completely different world- and that blue sign still sticks with me. Next time we take the trip to New York, or any little road trip for that matter, I am likely to remember that with fondness. Now I haven’t stayed in a Howard Johnson’s in about 20 years and so I can’t account for the quality of their actual accommodations. But those 3 words were all I needed to bump it to the front of the line for our next stopover. 

I’m hopeful that the actual accommodations will back up the awesome copywriting that -with  just a quick alliteration- created a pretty warm lead from yours truly. The branding was spot-on. 

Cracking the Code for Great Sales Copy

Copywriting rule #1 When looking for premium copy- Whether you are writing it yourself or hiring somebody to do it for you, you always want to say the most with the least amount of words possible. Our brains take in so much information- We aren’t going to remember the 6,000 billboards that talked about other motels and lodging, restaurants, dr’s offices, and attractions if they don’t appeal to us, our most basic needs and wants, and the ways our brains work. 

Copywriting is actually a type of psychological experiment. And once you figure out how to appeal to human nature and our most basic needs and functions. You really can’t go wrong.

There is a lot of bad copy out there in the wild. It gets complicated because it gets written in the way people speak. We have to write sales copy in the way people think. And then they — like I am now— will do the talking about the product, service, membership… for us.

Now that I brought it up, go check out some of your own copy in the wild and see if it speaks to you.


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