It’s widely believed that the most important part of any advert is the headline, and while this is true in most cases, what goes underneath can have just as much of an impact.
Headlines are usually followed by body copy, which refers to the main paragraph or line of text in an ad. It is separate from the slogan, logo, caption and any other text outside this section of writing. Good body copy grabs attention, is organised and gets to the point quickly. However, it takes skill, dedication and practice to get right.
Only the best advertising copywriters will be able to craft body copy that perfectly describes a brand or product while encouraging readers to take a certain action. With all this in mind, let’s take a closer look at six types of body copy in advertising.
The different types of body copy in advertising
Factual body copy gives the reader just enough information about a product or service to persuade them into buying it.
Because it solely focuses on the facts, it can be quite short, but there is no hard and fast rule about the length of advertising text.
One of the common misconceptions about advertising is that consumers aren’t interested in the facts, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, the more you say, the more you tend to sell.
“People do read lengthy advertisements if they are skillfully written.”
– Daniel Ogilvy
Narrative body copy draws people in by telling a story before offering a product or service that can help solve their problem. Only a handful of us react well to being told to buy a product, so the power of narrative advertising is that it’s a soft sell, enabling the reader to relate to the story and generate positive feelings towards the brand.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s One Foolish Act ad is a great example of narrative advertising. The headline describes how a drunk driver killed a cyclist on his 16th birthday, but the body copy talks about the consequences:
“He also killed the first guitar his parents would have given him that night. The band he would have played in during his first year at the University of Texas in Austin…”
Although it isn’t selling a product, the message is still important. The ad really pulls on the reader’s heartstrings and supports the advert’s slogan, which says: “One foolish act can kill a thousand great ones.”
3. Human interest
The purpose of human interest copy is to appeal to the reader’s emotions, so rather than talking directly about the features and benefits of a product, it capitalises on an individual’s senses to sell to them indirectly.
As such, body copy that takes on a human interest angle will often be humorous, promoting affection, love and fear. Essentially, it acts on any emotions that ignite our sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste or touch.
Usually, testimonial copy comes from customers, experts, celebrities or the spokesperson of a brand or product. Although it’s there to persuade, it must be truthful.
The benefit of a testimonial is that the copy is usually already written for you – all you need to do is figure out what it is they like best about your product and build an advert around this that better suits your target audience.
A great example of testimonial body copy is Aveeno’s January 2019 campaign with Jennifer Anniston. Alongside some standard information about the lotion and body wash, Jennifer’s testimonial reads:
“When my skin feels good, I feel good. Healthy, confident. That’s why my morning routine includes AVEENO Daily Moisturizing Lotion. Because feeling good in your skin is what it’s all about.”
Getting this right requires a copywriter to really understand their target audience. It’s a tried and tested strategy and can ensure a campaign remains memorable and impactful for a really long time.
Take a look at Krispy Kreme’s ‘Doughnuts are bad for you’ advert for an example of humorous advertising done well.
On the surface, it seems to commit an advertising faux pas by highlighting that the product is bad for you. But they’ve turned this disadvantage into an advantage by using the remainder of the copy to showcase it’s not just doughnuts that are unhealthy. For example, the first line says: “So are cream cakes, lie-ins and loud rock music. So is sugar. If you take it in your tea, stop immediately.”
The aim of institutional copy isn’t to sell products or services, but to promote a brand’s trustworthiness or reputation instead. Essentially, it should showcase the philosophies, objectives or policies of a company in the hope that this will resonate with readers and encourage them to get in touch.
Like any other type of advertising copy, it’s important to understand your target group, message and expected results before you begin writing.
Institutional advertising is usually reactive PR and typically appears after a situation or event has damaged a company’s image (take a look at KFC’s ‘We’re sorry’ advert here). However, other firms carry out planned and proactive institutional advertising to complement their marketing strategies.
What do all of these have in common?
No matter which type of body copy you’re writing, they all have a few elements in common: clarity, credibility and personality. Of course, some of these types of advertising will require more personality than others, but most importantly, they’re all honest and have the right impact.
If you’re a business owner and are considering publishing adverts, then it’s important that you hire a professional copywriter to craft the copy for you. After all, even ad copy needs to conform to acceptable standards and regulations, and copywriters with experience in this field will be best placed to negotiate the rules surrounding media law and ethics.
To find out more about hiring copywriters for your next project, contact Copify today.