Psst! Nylons…?

Every spiv in every British wartime movie says it. As a young gal passes by, he whispers out:

“Psst! Nylons…?”

Then opens up his coat, to show off his wares. Stockings, bananas, and all that other stuff they couldn’t get in the shops.

So what?

Well, he’d get his customer’s attention with a single word – “Nylons”. He didn’t go all “copywriter” and yell out:

Finally! The Nylon Stockings Your Local Shopkeeper REFUSES to Put on the Shelves – for a KNOCK-DOWN PRICE that’ll Make You Swear the Doodlebugs Blew Me Brains Out!!!

In other words – he didn’t blurt out his whole pitch at once. He relied on a teaser to get their interest, then got into the detail.

But – like the humble spiv – the short teasing headline has gone out of fashion.

Time was, you’d see promos that led with just a word or two. Like:

Itchy Scalp?

Instead of –

Who Else Wants the Itch-Killing Shampoo that SOOTHES YOUR SCALP and Gives Your Hair the Shine and Bounce of a Salon-Grade Conditioner?

They didn’t say it all at once. Because, sometimes less is more.

Sometimes, raising the problem is enough to start the conversation.

After all – if you’ve got an itchy scalp…or a leaking roof…or debts…or insomnia…or any urgent pain…it’s right up there at the top of your mind. Never goes away.

So one trigger word will grab you. Kicking your brain into action, like a jerky knee responding to a reflex hammer.

“Psst! Nylons?” does the job.

But for some reason, we don’t use that any more in copy.

In the new “Kick-Ass Copy” culture, the gentle callout is dead. And every ad, every landing page, every letter etc…is yelling out the whole shebang right up there at the top.

Okay – sometimes, the full-on assault headline is good.

It has its place.

But not always.

Blurt it all at once, and your reader might feel they’ve seen all they need to know. So they’ll skip the message below, and miss the big seduction.

…No sale.

While a teasing little question could lure them all the way in. Getting them onto that “greasy slide”, where they stay with the message all the way to the bottom.

So try it. Test a teaser or two against your big monster claim.

Teasers kept the spivs in business for years…so why not you?

Meet the Author

James Daniel

You might not know who James is...but you've probably read his copy. Through high street clients like Hidden Hearing, or big gun marketers like Jonathan Jay and Chris Cardell. His words are out there, pulling in new business every month. What else? Well his books, Do You Talk Like That at Home? and Direct Mail 101 will help you squeeze out more sales. Oh yeah - and his next book Before You JFDI will help you plan your next campaign. Get on the list for a free advance copy here.

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