Instead of looking heavenward, as many of us do, for inspiration on how to improve our advertising, sometimes it pays to do just the opposite: Look downward. By that I mean look down into the belly of your current advertising copy for any buried treasure that might merit boosting to the top, perhaps even as a stronger, more eye-catching headline than the one you're using.
I say this because there have been several times a client has anointed me an advertising Einstein as the result of a smart ad concept I've presented, only to learn the idea was actually theirs. I merely found it lying mildewed in the fourth paragraph of their old advertising copy and raised it to its rightful place. You'd be surprised how much potentially powerful, fresh headline material lies hidden below the surface of a lot of advertising efforts.
That's my primary message to Don Sims of Lamar, Arkansas, who wrote recently. Sims is in the seminar field, taking the stage every week on behalf of a program called "Debt-Free and Prosperous Living." The seminar describes a system of satisfying your debts within a few years and then using the money you would have spent on your now-paid mortgage to build a retirement nest egg. The flier Sims sends out to solicit church groups and other prospective audiences across the country is not weak by any means; some provocative ideas are persuasively communicated. But with a little burnishing, it could become even stronger.