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Head Long

Is it too much of a stretch to get your prospect to read a headline the length of your arm?

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This story appears in the July 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Typically, good advice on writing advertising headlines is: The shorter, the better. After all, why smack readers with a long string of words when it's hard enough getting their attention with a short headline? But there are some exceptions to the rule. Especially when the message you think will "sing" to your target market begs dramatization (and if you have the budget for an ad big enough to accommodate it). It's a risk, given the impatience of the average consumer. But sometimes it's a risk worth taking.

That's the case here, in which HealtheTech Inc., a maker of weight-management products in Golden, Colorado, headlines the lament of the frustrated weight-gainer: "It's not fair. If I even look at food, I gain weight. And my sister can eat anything and never put on a pound. Will somebody please explain." Whew! Twenty-eight words. End to end, they stretch 2 feet. But it's a set of words that grabs the prospect's attention by strategically highlighting the phrase "gain weight" in orange and placing it at the far right, where it will stick out.

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