How to guarantee your social media post or ad won’t get read.

Years ago, when just a lowly copywriter, there was a phrase I dreaded hearing when briefed by an account exec. It was: “They want a range ad.”

Range ads. They’re almost as meaningless as corporate ads, which means that their effect can be likened to peeing your trousers – not many people notice, but you get a warm feeling.

It’s just about impossible to write an effective range ad, because people don’t buy ranges. They buy one thing. Yes, they may choose from a range, but they buy one thing, because that one thing has the qualities they require at the time and everything else in the range – doesn’t.

A range ad, by virtue of existing at all, says ‘We have many things for you to choose from.” Note that ‘we’. It’s an ad about the company or the brand, and not about the customer or her precise and singular needs. Which is why such ads seldom work.

Unhappily, it’s horribly easy to replicate the miniscule effect of a range ad in any medium and almost any communication situation.

All you have to do is say more than one thing. Talk about more than one subject. Offer more than one solution to a problem.

“Why?” You ask. “Why shouldn’t I list the twenty-seven amazing things my product does for people? Or the sixteen remarkable widgets in my range?”

Well, because most people don’t have time to listen. They’re busy, they’re distracted and anyway, they didn’t visit the site/read the magazine/check the page/watch the programme hoping to hear from you in the first place. You’re an intruder and, as such, you’d better get right to the point, right away.

So pick one thing to say. Be clear, not clever. Be simple and singular.  And, if you really think those twenty-seven amazing things are so important, do twenty-seven different posts or ads!

 

 

 

Steve Yelland

Steve Yelland

Writer and brand strategist. A writer since 1978, Steve Yelland’s work has built share and sold product for some of the world’s top brands. His writing has appeared in the D&AD Annual three times and has won awards in the UK, Europe and the USA.