Thomas Aquinas spelled out the Seven Deadly sins or vitia capitalia (capital sins) in the 13th Century.
Pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. (I’ve only nailed down four of these within the last hour.)
800 years later, Max Sackheim is sitting in his office on 5th Avenue trying to come up with a great headline for a full page display ad for his ad agency.
What does he do? He smartly swipes Aquinas.
And thanks to Saint Thomas, Max not only gets the seed for a great headline but the whole structure of his ad. Click here for this behemoth of an ad.
A Google search of “seven deadly” mistakes reveals this is heavily swiped.
Here’s a few results I found based on this versatile headline.
- Seven Deadly Mistakes Presenters Make
- Seven Deadly Web Development Mistakes
- Seven Deadly Home Buying Mistakes
This is a headline that’s always going to have juice because of the magic of the number seven and the proof mechanism built into the headline. See Max Sackheim’s earlier home run ad here.
With some stylistic updates, there’s hardly an advertiser today who couldn’t profit from a careful read of this ad.
Ask Yourself These Questions About Your Advertising
1. Does it give the reader a reason for NOT reading?
2. Are we using headlines that whisper sweet nothings?
3. Are we using pictures that do not talk?
4. Is our advertising cursed with cleverness?
5. Does our approach go around Robin Hood’s barn?
6. Do our advertisements leave ’em dangling?
7. Do our advertisements contain “Yackety-Yack” copy?
Why should anyone read your advertising? Is it NEWS? Does it PROMISE anything of importance for the reader? Or is it just “another ad?”
Why should anyone believe your advertising? Are you really convincing – or just “talky?”
Why should anyone do anything about your advertising? Do you give them a chance – or do you leave them high and dry?
Can we get a hallelujah for Max?