Got adjectives?

I remember writing an essay once for third grade where I had to describe my summer vacation. It had to be 3 paragraphs long (three to four sentences in length) and it had to have a supporting statement and closing paragraph. Ugh! As I sat there with my head in hand wondering how am I going to get through the first three sentences by lunchtime, I had a brainstorm.

“My summer vacation was very very very good. I played outside. I rode my bike and watched TV at night.
When it was July, I watched the fireworks at the fair. I went on rides and won a prize. It was a lot of fun.
This was a great summer. I can’t wait for next summer. I hope summer comes soon.”

Asleep yet? Well, it had a supporting, opening sentence, another paragraph describing an event and a closing paragraph. Needless to say, it wasn’t my best work in fact, I think I got a “C”.  Well, when I read ad copy from local advertisers I pretty much the same format. Zzzzz!

I can’t say I’m any Wordsworth or Poe but, I do know that I have that “Sell the sizzle” mentality and that if I don’t capture my audience with the first 2 seconds of them glancing at my ad copy. My advice to those struggling with writing about themselves, or their company, make a list of words that come to mind about who you are (or your company) at the present moment. Make another list about who you’re trying to attract and why and then make a statement using words from your list.

Example:
first list:
trustworthy
loyal
determined
artistic
simplistic
original

next list:
new business
small businesses
men and women 35 – 55
family-orientated
old businesses who need help

“N2 Design Services is looking to help your new business grow.”

After doing this exercise, hopefully you’ll have a couple of adjectives to build upon and to create a headline and some starter ad copy.

“Determination and Creativity, N2 Design Services will help your new business image grow to succeed.”

Purchase or procure a Webster’s Thesaurus and Dictionary. This 2 books should be a mainstay for any business, large or starting out, and add to your current list. Keep in mind who your audience is when selecting words. Picking words that are obscure may turn off some readers and picking words that are too general may do the same. My favorites:
Gorgeous
Attractive
Huge
Enormous
Well-Deserved
Money-Saving
Well-Read
Intelligent
Accurate
Specific
Colorful
Jazzy
Retro

Also keep in mind, that too much of a good thing – adjectives – can cause space issues and turn some viewers off if you can’t cite an example of why you’re so wonderful.  To use the word money-saving and to cite a price that exorbitant causes the viewer to be turned off to your message. When in doubt, keep it simple and back up your statement.

Example:
Headline: The most romantic dining spot on the Jersey Shore
Ad copy: Smith’s located on the scenic beachfront in Belmar, NJ, has candlelight dining at dusk and a delicious couple’s menu after sunset. Lovely, cozy atmosphere and a staff who make the “date” worry-free.
Tag: Beach dining & Romance so perfect together.

Need help with your advertisement design? Feel free to contact N2 Design Services by e-mail nicholenappi@hotmail.com

Next topic: Creating magazine layouts.

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