We were having a discussion the other day about direct marketing and how certain marketers just love them some exclamation marks!!!
It made me recall a freelance job I once had writing ad copy for a company that sold Silver Eagle Half-Dollars as collectors items. I’m sure you’ve seen similar ads. This, I was told, would be a full-pager on the back cover of a Sunday newspaper magazine insert.
The coins were in mint condition and were packaged in a very attractive velvet-lined cherrywood box, perfect for the discriminating coin collector. The company’s owner instructed me to write copy that would impress the reader with the collectible significance of this coin and its .999 percent pure silver composition. They sold for more than $100 each. My father was a coin collector, so I knew that these things had some real value.
I wrote what I thought was a dignified ad, extolling the coin’s mint brilliance and beauty. I had researched the historical significance of the coin and tried to convey to potential customers the importance of having such a magnificent piece among their collections. I even wrote about the beautiful, velvet-lined cherrywood box and how much value it added to the piece, which would no doubt be passed down from generation to generation and become a treasured family heirloom.
By the time I was done I wanted to buy one of the coins for myself.
When I showed it to the owner, he read it carefully, nodded a few times, while muttering a few thoughtful “hmmm” and “ahh” sounds. Then he said, “This is great, but what it needs is more CAPITAL LETTERS and plenty of EXCLAMATION MARKS!!! That’s what catches their eye. Make it LOUDER.”
I was horrified. In my mind, what he was asking for was tantamount to drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
Then I got over myself, shrugged my shoulders, and gave him exactly what he wanted.
A job is a job after all.