Copywriting Exercise: Self Help vs. Free Coffee

In an attempt to develop my own style of copywriting, I took a look at a successful copy, broke it down into a formula then mimicked it with something of my own.

For this exercise, I decided to use John Lee’s Dumas’ ad for his newsletter “Fire Nation”

At First Glance:

This is a well thought out ad.

In terms of design, it’s well balanced, not too busy and easy on the eyes. I also like that they used the Fire Nations logo right behind John. It’s a noticeable logo and it helps draw your eyes back towards the text- that was clever.

The first thing you see is the “Welcome, Fire Nation!” across the top. For me, this immediately piques my interest because of two reasons: 1) I watched Avatar the Last Airbender religiously as a child (and if you did too, you understand why I wanted to keep reading) and 2) He’s calling out a very specific type of person and welcoming them in.

Then, your eyes are drawn to John, who puts a face to the ad. Physiologically, you’re not more likely to sign up because you know there’s an actual person involved.

After that, you move to a small chunk of text that gets you curious, “Are you ready for financial and lifestyle freedom?” Uh, who isn’t?!

Immediately after, the call to action. Join the newsletter and he’ll help you prepare to ‘ignite’. A clever play on words.

The Formula:

Explains How the Product can Bring Value

In a short and simple paragraph, this ad identifies something everyone wants, and then immediately offers a solution with an intriguing call to action.

Putting a Face to the Brand

By putting his image, he’s building trust and implying that he used his own tips to bring financial and lifestyle freedom to himself.

Clean Design and Constant Theme

The minimalistic design helps build credibility and eliminates all other distractions so that it’s very clear what the purpose is. The theme helps bring a feeling of unity to the ad.

Using Logos as a Design Element

Using a Logo like this is just plain smart. It helps users to remember it the next time they see it while keeping the focus on John.  

Other Things I Noticed:

The lighting! If you look closely, the left side of the ad is better illuminated than the right side, again setting into his theme of ‘fire’ and bringing more attention to the advertisement part of his ad.

How I mimicked it:

I built an ad for the Starbucks’ rewards program using this formula, (I know I talk about Starbucks a lot, but I’m literally there 40+ hours a week and I usually do homework in the lobby in between shifts. It’s always on my mind).

I actually had a ton of fun doing this, but it was surprisingly challenging to mimic the formula. For one, my design isn’t as simple or clean as Johns is, but if I messed with the formatting a bit more, I bet I could do it. I’ll probably end up doing more of these in the future.