I thought we’d go back in time for something light and irreverent in subject, (but no less serious when it comes to copywriting so take notes.)
Today we venture into the white knuckle roller coaster rides of treadle fret saws. What’s a treadle fretsaw you ask? What, have you been stuck in the 1850s?!
This revolutionary piece of machinery is a foot-powered saw that can be used for very fine and flexible cutting. (One of the most popular uses was for creating jigsaws which should give you an idea of how it works). I found a 1916 advert by Hobbies for one of their models… the “A1” (it’s a beaut!) and the copy was charming, so have featured it here today.
Here’s the advert and then let’s have a quick look at what’s going on there shall we?
What catches your eye first?
Well, let’s be honest, sex sells and that is one smokin’ piece of equipment, glorified via a high-resolution sketch of the machine. We can see the fretsaw in all its glory and boy are those sleek lines seductive!
We also have the headline which is split into 2 parts. Initially our eyes are drawn to the red text that states: “drive tedium away?” This gives us an idea that this is a labour-saving machine and as we know in copywriting, promises to save time and effort are compelling.
The full headline states:
“Why Should You Make a Toil of Pleasure when Hobbies “A1″ Treadle Fretsaw Will Drive the Tedium of Fretwork Away?”
Let’s take a quick moment to evaluate the headline.
- Does it target a specific audience? – Yes, those who are familiar with the machine will identify with it immediately
- Does it offer a benefit? – Yes, driving tedium away
- Does it provide a sense of urgency? – Not really, perhaps a time-specific offer may have worked here
For more help creating your own headline, don’t forget to check out these headline templates or the Headline Shaker Maker.
Can you measure how it will change your life?
While the language below the headline might take you a little while to get your head around, the description is pretty specific:
Using this machine takes less than half the effort needed for a hand tool
The tip I want you to take away here is to try and quantify the effect your product or service has on your customer. If it saves them time, how much time? Money? How much money? Effort? How much?
It couldn’t be more simple to get one!
The call to action is straight-forward and easy to follow:
- The machine can be inspected and tried at any branch
- Easy terms for purchasing is offered
- Addresses of the branches are provided
Again, there’s no sense of urgency stated in this advert but let’s be honest, for craftsmen in the 1916 this product is probably on a par with the release of the iPad air today, no urgency needed.
See one in action here:
One of the other reasons I chose this advert is because we actually have one… My husband uses it to cut the pearl inlay for his banjos. His is a later model, from the 1920s, but it’s still going strong today:
You can see it in this episode of Content Marketing Stripped (skip to 0:18 to see it in action… and then to 3:08 where I promptly break it).
That’s all for today. Enjoy your copywriting time travel experience and I’ll see you next time!