Make Good Advertising Copywriting Great


What makes great ad copy? Hint: It’s not about you!

David Ogilvy, often described as the “Original Mad Man,” is someone most of us ad folk look to as the source for developing great ad copy. His quotes pertaining to ad copy are legendary. I love and quote them often from “Aim out of the ball park” to “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” His strategies are relevant and powerful today. He has one quote that I find most important of all regarding great ad copy and very relevant to this blog. “A consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife. Don’t insult her intelligence, and don’t shock her.” Ad copy, like life, should be about respect — respect for the consumer as well as your fellow man.

What’s in it for them? This is what consumers look for when it comes to ads. But oftentimes, the content in ads coincides with a lack of humility. The biggest mistake ad copywriters make is either forgetting (or not recognizing) that ads should be more about the consumer than the product. But this affliction is universal. This lack of humility shows up in client>product>consumer relationships as well as consumer>product>client relationships. I believe this attitude stems from our innate, yet human, selfishness and our lack to put others before ourselves.

What am I getting at? What’s this have to do with ad copywriting? It’s biblical: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you can’t or won’t, then I question your ability to write great ad copy. The trick to great advertising is making the consumer believe that what you’re selling is something they need and, in turn, want to purchase from you. But how do you do that? Think of their needs first and always! This sounds simple, but without the understanding of the verse Mark 12:31, it’s easier said than done. Keep in mind that consumers, like ourselves, are selfish by nature. They don’t care about you as a businessperson, and if your advertising copy doesn’t pertain to them, you’ll lose them as a customer. Do your research. Know everything you can about your potential clientele. You owe it to them, not because you have to in order to be successful, but rather because it’s the right thing to do!

Self pride and pride in one’s product is essential in life and in advertising. However, the ultimate goal is to have the consumer need you more than you need them. You must realize that if the consumer doesn’t believe you have their best interest in mind, then the ultimate goal (increasing your business) will be hard to achieve. So how do you do this?

  • “Be humble: Show more interest in the consumer and less of your product.”
  • “Be honest: Consumers know when you’re exaggerating, and that moral compass shows in your ads.”
  • “Be considerate: Don’t inconvenience your consumer.”
  • “Be kind: Maintain strong ethical standards.”
  • “Be happy: your joy will show in your copy!”
  • Lastly, “Be strong: Be able to withstand pressure. How you handle pressure says a lot about yourself and the companies you represent.

Writing great ad copy is an art form, and there are specific guidelines that great writers follow. But more than anything else, writers who follow the Golden Rule and know how to love their consumers like themselves are the most successful!

Until next time,





Jim Emmerling
Owner/President/Media Specialist, Em-Media Inc.

Phone: (740) 264-2186


About Jim Emmerling: Helping businesses succeed through creative meaningful campaigns was and continues to be the driving goal of Em-Media, which was founded on April 1, 1996 by Jim Emmerling. Since the inception of Em-Media, Jim has guided his team of media specialists into one of the region’s premier full-service advertising agencies. Jim’s advertising career spans 30+ years. Prior to starting his own advertising and marketing agency, Emmerling worked at The Gannett Newspaper Corp. in Tarentum, Pa., and held management positions at The Daily Collegian in State College, Pa., as well as at WTOV9 in Steubenville. A native of New Kensington, Pa., Emmerling graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications. Jim and his wife, Lee Ann, have raised four wonderful children: Michael, Jacob, Jonathan and Isabella. Jim is very active civically, serves on several boards of directors seats, and was past president of The Steubenville Rotary Club.

About Em-Media: Since 1996, Em-Media has given clients the best value in today’s markets. No matter where your business is located, Em-Media can create a cost-effective, memorable marketing message. Em-Media knows the importance of communicating clients’ messages in an ever-changing digital world combined with traditional media. Our team is up-to-date on new digital media trends to adapt to our clients’ ever-changing needs. From start to finish, our staff is ready to design your website, manage your social media platforms, and increase your presence on the online spotlight.

Our primary function is consulting with our clients on marketing goals and creating advertising campaigns utilizing television, radio, digital platforms, billboards and print media to accomplish these goals. We have confidence in the experience of our team to assist in the development of your market area.

The agency’s expertise encompasses but is not limited to:

Media Buying & Placement | Brand Strategy | Graphic Design | Website Development | Commercial Production | Social Media Management | Inbound Marketing | Public Relations | TV & Radio Show Production

Leave a comment


Pittsburgh Media Center
706 James Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Steubenville Media Center
2728 Sunset Boulevard
Steubenville, OH 43952

Wheeling Office
98 East Cove Avenue
Wheeling, WV 26003