Delete Blood Cancer is an important charity and people should know about it. Their mission is to:
“Provide a suitable donor for every person in need of a blood stem cell donation. Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Blood stem cells from a matching donor could cure them and save their lives.”
Unfortunately, I almost skipped right over their full page advert in a glossy magazine because the headline was too easy to ignore. In fact, the only reason I did read the article is because my first thought was about using the headline as a case-study for what not to do.
It’s too easy to respond “don’t care” to the question
Questions are great copywriting tools. Psychologically we’re programmed to want to answer questions, but there is a caveat that goes with this:
Your customer has to CARE about the question
I understand that the copywriter has aimed to use curiosity by suggesting there is something ‘different’ with this cotton bud. That’s a great start, unfortunately it’s missing 2 critical elements that would help it get better results:
- Stating what the advert is about (the main story of this is NOT the cotton bud)
- Giving the reader a reason to read on (because of the promise of a benefit / solving a problem)
Charities have to work much harder than consumer products to get attention because they’re not promoting a product that has obvious personal benefits to the customer. This advert appeared in a women’s fashion magazine where readers are primarily interested in beauty tips, products, clothes and fashion.
So it makes me really sad that around £32,000 was spent placing this ad without spending time on beefing up that headline.
What could have been done?
First of all, I wouldn’t have run with the shot of cotton buds. Straight away I’m thinking an advert for cotton buds, and well, how different can a cotton bud be (if I’m thinking along the lines of my beauty regime).
If you visit the website of Delete Blood Cancer you can see that they have helped facilitate more than 46,000 donations. Think about all those lives that have been touched and imagine how powerful a story about one of those lives would be rather than the mechanics of how they take the donor information (via the cotton swab).
This is a bit like talking about what you DO and not what you do for your customer.
So I would definitely feature the page as an inspiring article about someone whose life they have helped. This magazine has feature articles so the editorial would be more aligned with what people want to read in the magazine as opposed to just another advert.
But what about the headline?
Okay, let’s say that we’re keeping the advert as it is, how could we make the headline more intriguing?
Well, off the top of my head, the themes that jump out to me in the story are:
- They’re helping to save lives from cancer
- Every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer
- Only 50% of people diagnosed are lucky enough to match to someone in the database
If we think about our target market, they’re flipping through a magazine, but many people have been unfortunately touched by cancer. Almost everyone I meet knows someone who has been affected by it. That’s why I think Delete Blood Cancer need a bigger, bolder presence in this advert.
Based on this knowledge, my instinct would be for the headline to get straight to the heart of the matter:
How this cotton bud could save someone you know from blood cancer
And if we wanted to keep the question style, you could have:
If you or someone you know were diagnosed with blood cancer, would you find a donor? This simple cotton bud can help
Now, it might be argued that the last headline is too strong, too negative, but I believe that for what the organisation does, if it gets attention and get a response it’s worth it.
And yes, I’ve signed up to be a donor.
What do you think? Did you like the original headline? How would you rewrite it? Let me know in the comments below!
Aurelie Chazal says
You make a really good point. After looking at the image for a split second I thought it was an ad for cotton buds. I think if you use one of the headlines you came up with, then keeping the image makes sense. The headline would have to be what first attracts the reader’s attention though.
I like your first headline, it’s simple and straight to the point.
Amy Harrison says
Thanks Aurelie! I thought it was for cotton wool buds too. Seems a shame to bury such an important message.
Aurelie Chazal says
That’s what I thought when reading. If it was a brand selling their product, well they failed but it’s still just advertising. In this case the message is amazing and could really help change lives.
Good causes need good copywriters too 🙂