Copywriting Lessons from SkyMall Magazine

While waiting for my flight on a recent trip to New York, I couldn’t help but crack open the notorious in-flight “advertorial” magazine, Sky Mall. Who can’t resist reading about Fold-And-Go Wooden Jigsaw Tables, Ultraviolet Dental Cleaners, Bug Vacuums and Genuine Turkish Bathrobes? In all seriousness, I will admit there are some interestingly convenient inventions in there, many of which I’d give an A+ to for their copywriting. Often companies forget to focus on their value proposition and give a direct “why you should care” message to their target audience.  These companies didn’t.

A couple of the “Products that Make Life Easier” that caught my attention:

1)  Product: Stirr
Headline: All the tedious stirring is done by this “kitchen assistant!”
Copy: Cook custards, sauces and soups without constantly stirring. The innovative Stirr lets you do other prep work while you keep an eye on what’s cooking. Soft, padded “feet” walk around the pot to blend flavors, while a paddle sweeps the bottom to prevent sticking. Safe for nonstick pans. Three speeds. Uses 4 AA batteries. Detachable blades are dishwasher safe.

In this example we’re targeting busy, everyday cooks that are sick of the hassle of stirring a pot while trying to cook everything at once.  What could alleviate the tedious stirring and provide a little help? The Stirr. Why do people care about this Stirr product? Forgetting to stir the pot while preparing other food can ruin the meal and your pot. What are the benefits of this product? This product provides convenience to the chef, can stir at different speeds automatically, is safe and easy to clean up. In less than 50 words the creative writers at Sky Mall clearly explained what and why I should buy this product. I want it!

2)  Product: Quilted Ironing Mat
Headline: “Ironing board” doesn’t use an inch of space.
Copy: No room for an ironing board? Don’t want to drag out the big board just to do a quick press? You’ll appreciate how this quilted, heat-reflecting pad instantly turns your dryer into an ironing surface. Strong, sewn-in magnets hold it firmly in place without scratching. At 32 1/2 x 19”, it’s bigger than a narrow ironing board and will never tip over! Use on either side. Roll, folder or hang on a hook.

The picture on this one said it all. They show the pad placed on the top of a clothes dryer with the iron on top. It’s space conscious and it stays in place with magnets… brilliant! How convenient! You don’t need an ironing board, it doesn’t damage your belongings as it stays in place with magnets, it’s durable, it’s a larger surface to iron on, and it’s flexible allowing you to  place it on other surfaces other than the dryer. I had to smile as I fully admit that while I completely understand the marketing ploy and persuasive writing of advertorials, I continue to say to myself “I need that!”

Hats off to those creative writers for nailing their value proposition.