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Sell the Good Night's Sleep, Not the Mattress
By: Mona Sabbah
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I’m sure you’ve heard that one before; you’re in advertising, after all. When it comes to selling products to millions, it’s always wiser to highlight the benefits instead of the features. That’s what the customer cares about most: what the product can do for them. On the other hand, clients tend to prefer the features, such as the 10-speed capability of a bike, the 32G of a smartphone, or the genuine parts of a car. But it’s your job to explain that benefits are what sells.

If the benefits are the leading actor, the features take on the supporting role. When copywriting, always place benefits center stage in your body copy, with the features as props to help build that paragraph. A great ad paints a vivid picture for its reader, with the words being as much a part as the visuals. Sometimes, one will do the heavy lifting. This is even truer in radio, where the listener gets to imagine the best version of whatever it is you’re describing. If your radio spot has a galloping horse in it, every listener will envision a different kind of animal, probably their own personal favorite color: black, white, or brown.  

In advertising, you’re never really selling what you’re actually selling. If it’s a three-bedroom house, it’s really family life. If it’s jewelry, it’s not metals, it’s happily ever after. If it’s a phone, it’s not communication, it’s connection. If it’s clothing, it’s a lifestyle. Just imagine if Nike decided to tout their features in their tagline and had said “Just do the responsive cushioning” instead of “Just do it”?


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About the Author
Mona Sabbah is a Senior Copywriter/Creative Director with over 12 years of experience writing for print, TV, radio, and online. Mona has worked on a number of accounts from The Florida Lottery to Air Canada and Keiser University. You can see some of her work at http://www.miamicopywriter.com/. Find her on Twitter at @miamicopywriter.
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