A good rule of thumb for keeping marketing copy short and sweet is The Three Point Stance.
This guideline helps us communicate the right amount of information to our audience. Different advertising mediums can handle different amounts of information, and it’s easy to try to pack in more than people will effectively take away. The Three Point Stance is a simple way to keep from trying to say too much, so our message doesn’t get lost in the clutter.
1. For billboards, web banners, and bus ads – one point only.
2. For a print ad – limit to two points, max.
3. For a webpage or simple handout – three main points, maximum.
When designing a message, it’s important to remember that it’s for the reader — not the author. Temptation can make us load ad space with as much information as possible because of placement costs and our passion to tell consumers absolutely everything about a product. However, our messages have more effect when we focus on relaying our key message in a way that readers will actually pay attention to.
For some great examples of keeping copy short and key points to a minimum, let’s look at a few examples from AdWeek’s recent article on great print ads from 2017. This retrospective showcases some fantastically creative advertisements. And, wouldn’t you know it, these killer ads make great use of the Three Point Stance. Plus, they go above and beyond for print ads and stick to one main point!
McDonald’s “Open Late”
This series of ads from the burger mega-chain is about as simple as you can get. Not only do they communicate that they’re open late, but they add a touch of elegance to the messages. McDonald’s commissioned a French sculptor to create light statues of a few of their more iconic menu items, and those sculptures were photographed out of focus – creating a beautiful blurred image, reminiscent of a nighttime scene. Unexpected beauty from McDonald’s!
Burger King’s “Burning Stores”
Another burger chain gets into the mix here, but in a much different and more unexpected way. Featuring little more than their logo, a series of photos show their restaurants on fire, and the tagline, “Flame grilled since 1954.” Not only are these ads self-deprecating and hilarious, they’re also a clever way to catch the eye, tickle a funny bone, and make one point unbelievably obvious and memorable – Burger King flame grills!
Snowbird Ski Resort’s “One-Star Reviews”
Here’s another example of a brand that used self-deprecating humor. Snowbird Ski Resort featured ads that “boasted” 1-star reviews from actual customers. The hook? The nature of these complaints (such as “Too advanced!”) is actually appealing to the expert skiers that Snowbird wants to attract!
I hope you enjoyed this look at print ads that are out-of-the-box creative, while keeping copy concise. Let’s draw inspiration from these examples and keep our messages short and sweet!