Copywriting mistake. Ad is too busy and tries to say too much.

Above is an advertisement for an MP3 player. Look at the ad for five seconds. Then answer a simple question.

What is that ad about? If you’re like most people, you can’t say for sure. After all, the ad says a lot.

The player has 16 gigabits of memory. It holds 32 hours of audio, five hours of video playback. It has an “eight EQ setting,” whatever that is. It has “Volume Restriction Control.” Okaaaay. The ad has four prices up there: 129 dollars, minus 50 dollars, and a final price of 79.99 dollars, which is a savings of 50 dollars.

This ad makes a classic copywriting blunder. It says too much. It doesn’t have a single-minded proposition. Your goal with every piece of copy you write is to communicate one essential message to your reader. The single-minded proposition sums up the most important thing you can say about your product or service or brand.

Your single-minded proposition is just that: a proposition. Every piece of copy you write contains features, benefits, claims and brand promises that you want your prospects to understand and believe. The secret to effective copywriting is to distill all of your propositions and claims and promises down to one compelling, memorable proposition.

Your single-minded proposition is the one thing that you want your reader to believe about your product or service or brand after reading your copy.

Let me show you how it’s done. Below is another advertisement, for another brand of MP3 player. Look at it for five seconds, then answer a simple question.

Ad copywriting by Apple shows single minded proposition

What is that ad about?

The answer is simple. The Apple iPod puts one thousand songs in your pocket. What is the one thing you remember about the ad? The Apple iPod puts one thousand songs in your pocket. More importantly, what is the one thing that the advertiser wants you to know about this product? The Apple iPod puts one thousand songs in your pocket.

Put the two ads side by side and you appreciate right away how valuable a single-minded proposition is. Now you can see the beauty of taking all your features and benefits and claims and distilling them down to just one proposition. When you have just one single-minded proposition in your head as the copywriter, you can easily put that proposition into the head of your potential customers.

The key to effective copywriting is focus. Don’t try to say everything. Just try to say one thing. But make sure that the one thing you say is the most important thing your potential customer needs to believe. Enough said.