The power of corny, old-fashioned, copy-heavy marketing

I recently posted about a stupid ad for Amnesty International Poland at SOFII.

Really, it was a very stupid ad.

I’ve since heard from Indra Sinha a UK writer who years ago did a series of powerful and effective print ads for Amnesty International UK. These great ads are showcased at SOFII and well worth a look. Go to SOFII, so you can read the copy.

Sinhaad

This is good stuff. Solid, focused writing. And it says enough to give would-be donors enough reason to break the inertia and make a gift. None of that vague abstraction that stupid nonprofit ads use symbolize issues by making the obscure, clever, and unemotional.

I can imagine the outcry most nonprofits these days would make if you proposed running copy-heavy ads like these.

Nobody is going to read all that copy!

It looks so old-fashioned!

It violates our graphic standards!

I’m guessing these ads wouldn’t work as well now as they did then. But that’s not because of their style; its because print ads of any kind don’t work like they used to for fundraising. There are a number of notable exceptions to that, especially print ads just after disasters. But generally, print ads have lost a lot of their mojo.

The lesson here is this: Lots of copy is nearly always a good fundraising tactic. It’s so much better than clever visual puns or objects floating in vast seas of tasteful white space.

If your first reaction to something is that it looks old fashioned and/or copy-heavy, that’s usually a sign that it’s good. Really. Thanks to Mr. Sinha for reminding us.

See some stupid nonprofit ads here. Not a one is copy heavy!


Comments

2 responses to “The power of corny, old-fashioned, copy-heavy marketing”

  1. When you give people compelling copy, they’ll read it. And the longer it is, the more room there is to make the case. When you add in powerful headlines like these, it’s a winning combination! Thanks Jeff.

  2. When you give people compelling copy, they’ll read it. And the longer it is, the more room there is to make the case. When you add in powerful headlines like these, it’s a winning combination! Thanks Jeff.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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