Now Hear This

June 11, 2009

Now is the winter of our discontent … Those opening lines from Richard III crossed my mind earlier today while driving past our local Shakespeare Festival stage in Iowa City, where the Bard’s tale of a physically and mentally disfigured king is set to open. I love the play for many reasons but the wordsmith in me loves that opening most of all. Now.

There aren’t a whole lot of other words in the English language that command that much power on their own. This is why we so often see now as a lead in advertising copy. (Were you starting to wonder how I was gonna tie this back?) I personally am guilty of doing it almost constantly but in my defense it’s hard not to paint with that powerful, imperative brush. Now at Westergaard Advertisng we’re giving you … Now you can take advantage of these special savings …

Always a more striking lead than a lost bit of punctuation at the end of a sentence, it’s hard to write weak copy that contains this bold opening salvo. Perhaps it’s because it commands action in an immediate sense thus making it useful to results-oriented marketers everywhere. Yes, this is a lighter post than most. Think of it as a Valentine to one of our favorites in the copywriter’s toolbox.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.