In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Meaning and Characteristics of Advertising Copy 2. Factors Affecting Advertising Copy 3. Essentials 4. Component Parts or Elements.

Meaning and Characteristics of Advertising Copy:

An ‘advertising copy’ is the means by which an advertiser expresses his ideas in the form of a message to the readers. If refers to all the reading matters of an advertisement, whether short or long, and includes the headline, sub-headlines, text or body, and the name or the initial of an advertiser. An advertising copy is sometimes referred to as ‘advertising message’.

Characteristics of Advertising Copy:

The format of advertising copy must be so designed that it possesses the characteristics, or features like:


(1) Arresting pictures,

(2) Arresting headlines,

(3) Novelty and contrast of the product,

(4) Dis­tinctiveness,


(5) Message size and position (how long, how short, how it is put, etc.),

(6) Colour,

(7) Shape, and

(8) Movement.

Factors Affecting Advertising Copy:

An advertising copy must be based on the following factors:


(i) Is advertising believable?

(ii) Is advertising reliable?

(iii) Does it appeal to the consumers’ needs and wants?


(iv) Does it explain the benefits of a product realistically?

(v) Is it based on creativity? etc.

An advertising copy or message has to be designed by identifying the target audience. What are the audience needs? attitudes? preferences? It is very difficult to pinpoint various factors in detail, because much depend on the perception, attitude and social status of the audience.

The aim of advertising copy is that it shall be seen, read, the messages conveyed, and then acted upon. It is necessary that an advertisement copy creates curiosity in the mind of the prospect, invites his attention, pro­duces an impression on his memory and turns his impressions into convictions.


Essentials of a Good Advertising Copy:

Advertising copy contains the message of the advertisement. For advertising in newspa­pers, magazines and other publications, such message is conveyed through reading material in written words and pictures; for radio advertising, the message is communicated through talking material in spoken words; and for film and television advertising, the message is embodied in both reading and talking material.

According to the differing nature of advertising media, the copy of advertising may represent some reading, talking, or combined reading and talking material.


Irrespective of its nature, advertising copy in all cases is to be drawn up in conformity with certain cardinal principles as follows:

1. Advertising copy being meant for conveying information, it must provide such information through as simple, clear, concise and complete a copy as possible. A simple and clear copy requires the use of known words and familiar phrases rather than the introduction of rare words and high- flown phrases.

Conciseness or brevity is the art of copy writing and lends much in gaining public reception for a product. A complete copy is what gives full information relating to the source and time of availability of the advertised products or services along with their costs.

2. The copy should be drawn up with a specific objective in view rather than the general one of increasing sales. As sales are circumscribed by a number of barriers like feeling of high prices, existence of rival brands, lack of quality confidence or knowledge of poor performance, the message of the copy should be directed to dispel the wrong impression or to overcame the consumer resistance.


3. The copy should be designed with an eye to enlist the support of prospective consumers. A general appeal to all falls into deaf ears and fails to draw the attention of any particular group or section of the community. Accompanied by a proper layout with suitable headings and illus­trations, an effective copy carries the message to those people who are likely to use the advertised products or services.

4. The message of the advertisement is of no avail unless it can create consumers’ interest in the product. In the absence of faith or confi­dence in a business and its products, no interest can be expected on the part of consumers. For this purpose, the copy must be grounded in a tone of sincerity and believability. The message must be capable of inspiring confidence in prospective consumers and of winning their acceptance.

5. The copy should stimulate a deep-seated human desire through making an appeal to the inner yearnings of the consumer. That is to say, the copy is to be based upon a central theme of appeal.

Component Parts or Elements of Advertising Copy:

The make-up or component parts of the copy of advertising can be viewed from two aspects:

A. Advertising theme and

B. Advertising layout.

(A) Advertising Theme:


A theme represents a particular view-point or a central idea with which the message is conveyed to the consuming public. The theme involves a rational appeal based upon human emotions, desires or sentiments. Such well-thought-out and specific appeals became effective in arousing desire and in initiating action on the part of consumers.

The following are the common themes used in advertising:

1. The theme of beauty:

The sales appeal for cosmetics, perfumeries and toilet products are usually based upon the theme of beauty. Accordingly, the message of the advertisement contains expressions like “For romantic or charming appearance, use product A”, “Product B ensures alluring or exquisite complexion”, or “Care your hair with product C for glossy glimpse and luxuriant growth.”

2. The theme of pride:

The sales message in the case of jewelleries, radios, costly clothes, motor cars and others is laid upon the theme of pride, since the acquisition of such products is deemed as proud possessions on the part of buyers. For example, “Prestige car means A”, “Radio B adds decency to any home”, “Discerning people prefer fabric C”, or “X’s Jewellery adorns fashionable ladies.”


3. The theme of health:

Food products and drugs are advertised through reliance upon the theme of health. To take some examples, “Product A supplies boundless energy and vigour”, “Health brings happiness—and the key to health is held by product B”, “Product C keeps you free from disease”, or “Eminent physicians prescribe D for cold and cough.”

4. The theme of comfort:

Products which aid in giving comfort to the people at work or at home are advertised through the theme of comfort. Elec­trical fans, air-conditioning plants, refrigerators and the likes belong to the group of products meant for providing comfort.

5. The theme of economy:

This is a common appeal used in many cases for making bargaining purchase, for saving money or far protecting costly things from decay and destruction.


6. The theme of fear:

The theme of fear is utilized by insurance companies and safety-vault operators in expanding the demand for their services. Possible dangers and their consequences are presented in the copy of advertising for initiating action on the part of their customers.

7. The theme of emulation:

The desire for imitation is strongly implanted in human nature. By giving illustrations and factual information as to what some distinguished persons do, the message of the advertisement may call for imitation on the part of others. To take one case, “The succ­essful men all over the globe use Blade A.”


8. The theme of distinction:

The desire for individual recognition, distinct social status and superior community standing is inherent in human beings. As an outward mark of that distinction, selected products of very expensive nature are acquired by a class of people who may be high-borns or aristocrats.

9. The theme of affection:

Baby foods, toys and other playthings are advertised on the basis of this theme. By directing appeal towards parental love, the copy of advertising becomes effective in securing action on the part of buyers.

10. The theme of patriotism:

The appeal for products of national origin is sometimes based upon national sentiments. For the prosperity of a nation and its citizens, the theme of patriotism makes out a case for using national products in preference to goods of foreign origin.

(B) Advertising Layout:


Layout is the logical arrangement of compo­nents of an advertisement in the copy and deals with systematic presentation of the message. The pattern of layout varies according to the medium to be used.

For newspapers and magazines, the presentation of the message is visible in written words and pictures; in radio the presentation is audible in spoken words and sound effects; and in television, both audio and visual presentations are practicable. In all cases, balance and symmetry are of prime importance in presenting the message within the allotted space or time.

Visual layout in any publication can be divided into the following three parts:

(a) Headlines:

Headlines are used in bold letters for drawing atten­tion of the consuming public. The size and length of the headline must be appropriate to the general format and page size of the publication; it must also be in keeping with the theme of advertising and with the entire make-up of the copy.

Usually, short headlines are given stressing some facts, suggestions, prepositions or convictions. In magazines and trade journals, colour printing is adopted for headlines to make than more promi­nent and conspicuous in character.

(b) Illustrations:

Illustrations are given by way of pictures, symbols or photographs for drawing attention, creating interest as well as for arousing desire. Significant illustrations may be worth a thousand words in securing public reception for the product.

But limits of decency must not be exceeded in presenting pictures or photographs which should always be in good taste. Obscene and objectionable pictures do more harm than good to the cause of advertisement.

(c) Texts:

Texts provide the heart of the message of advertisements, and they are to be woven around an advertising theme. For an individual copy, one theme is desirable; a multiplicity of themes creates confusion and weakens the strength of appeal. For presenting the text, different practices are followed in the business world.

In some cases, the text is prefaced by a statement of problem to the reader and followed by a solution thereof. In other cases, reading materials are presented in an analytical manner with pertinent facts and data. Furthermore, the text may be presented by the use of type face in one copy or of hard lettering in another copy.