Try Word Lists for Advertising “Gold”

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You rack your brain. You try to force yourself to be creative, but the juices just aren’t flowing. Here’s a three-step tactic that will help you get the goods.

Great ideas don’t typically pop into your head. “They will most likely come in bits and pieces, such as in a word list, that comes together at the most unlikely of times and places.” The exercise below helps your brain spew out creative ideas when you need them. Here’s how to do it.

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Step 1: Brainstorm

Start by forming a “Fact Column One” to list the facts about your product or service. For example, what are three facts about an orange?

Fact Column One:

  • Orange
  • Round
  • Sour 

Step 2: Describe

Next, you’ll build “Fact Column Two” and use descriptive or visual words to “represent the product/service fact used in column one.” This column helps bring out newer ideas that you might not have thought of previously.

Fact Column Two:

  • Sunshine
  • Navel
  • Face Contortion

Step 3: Combine

Your last fact column is where you combine the two lists to help form an ad. Try to use the essential list of the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and, of course, How. Use a combination of words to create a visual or verbal scene.

Fact Column Three:

  • HOT, HOT, HOT, TASTE.
  • Show a human navel, talk about connection to Mother Earth.
  • Show varied people’s reactions to their first bite of an orange.

Putting it all Together

Now you can put it all together to make a unique experience. Align your words across the page, so they go together. Here’s where your ad will begin to take shape and become something you hadn’t thought of using both sides of your brain.

  • Orange + Sunshine + HOT, HOT, HOT, TASTE
  • Round + Navel + Show a human navel or connection to Mother Earth.
  • Sour + Face Contortion + Show varied people’s reactions to their first bite of an orange.

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Writing ads in this way forces both parts of the brain to work together. Shoot for a word list of about 20 to 25 words and visual representations to develop an ad that hasn’t been thought of yet. By using one or two words, you learn to focus on the point you are trying to make or the solution you are trying to provide.

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The Bare Bones of Advertising Print Design

by Robyn Blakeman

The Bare Bones of Advertising Print Design is an ideal handbook for beginning designers and students of advertising design/layout and desktop publishing. Robyn Blakeman dissects the creative process one piece at a time, giving a step-by-step guide to the use and design of advertising in both magazines and newspapers. This friendly, concise, and well-illustrated book is an invaluable resource that new designers and ad design students will refer to time and again for tips on creative and effective print ads.