How art direction can make a great difference to the idea in the headline or copy

Here are a few examples where I was had come up with creative headlines for marketing communication briefs that was approved by the clients for their on-target content. I’ll be writing down the incidents as I remember them:

Working in an advertising agency, we had account executives who had gathered a brief from the client for a particular product or service. The account executives then tried to convey to us creatives, in the best possible way, what the client wanted to communicate to his target audience/customers.


(TVS-Electronics Range of Dot-Matrix Printers were India's largest selling business standard printers)

One time, for TVS-Electronics range of Dot Matrix printers, the account executive wanted us to come up with a creative headline that could communicate that the TVS-Electronics Range of Dot-Matrix Printers were India’s largest selling business standard printers. After brainstorming with the team and the execs, I came up with “Bestsellers in Print!”

The team liked it and the Art Director immediately started working on a layout. My idea for the visual was the printers stacked together maybe vertically like books, but sadly they wanted to give the layout in the same day and that was the end of it.

This is where tasteful art direction would have complemented the headline and the advertisement would have been impactful.




(MSP 345 gives high-quality prints but at lower ink costs.)

This was again for TVS-Electronics Dot Matrix printers. This time the client wanted to communicate that one of their printers- the MSP 345 could give high-quality prints but at lower ink costs. I came up with the line “Executive Class at Economy Price!” and wanted this line to go with the visual of the side profile of the printer angled like a passenger seat in an air flight and a business executive reclining on it! But no, that was too much work and we had to go with the below ūüôĀ



(TCMS has built wide network of branches founded on time-tested values of reliability, honesty and transparency.)

I came up with this headline for 21st Century Management Services company when they wanted to communicate that they had a wide number of branches and their values were reliability, honesty and transparency). 



How would you as an Art Director or Designer approached the above headlines? Do let me know in the comments. You’re also invited to art direct maybe as an exercise for your portfolio. Do share your ideas.

[COPYWRITING] Crafting creative headlines from marketing briefs for print

While cutting my teeth as a copywriter in Purple Patch, a copy services  firm serving advertising agencies in Chennai, I crafted headlines for print advertisements for various clients. A few of the ones that got approved are reproduced below:

Client : SI Construct                    
(This was my first headline that was approved for publication in Purple Patch.)  
Product / Service: Apartments 
Brief : To communicate that Bangalore is a prime place invest in and  SI Constructions is the premium real estate agent there. 
Headline: There is more to India’s Garden City and Silicon Valley than flowers and computer chips. 
Date: Dec-94
Medium / Size: Print – Newspaper 

Continue reading “[COPYWRITING] Crafting creative headlines from marketing briefs for print”

WILT (What I Learnt Today) #1

I’m starting a new series of blog posts with snippets of info/knowledgeI find enlightening and inspiring.

Starting today with a snippet I found in James Altucher’s email updates:


The One Score That Can Improve Your Writing With A Single Click  By: James Altucher(read on his site)

The F-K score.

The Flesch-Kincaid score determines what grade level you are writing. If your score is 10, you are writing at a 10th grade reading level. If your score is 12, you are writing at a 12th grade level. And so on.

The F-K score is calculated by words per sentence (lower is better), syllables per word (lower is better), and a few other factors.

Good sales writers aim for as low a level as possible. Anything greater than 8 is considered bad sales writing. People get fired over it.

The F-K score of “Old Man and the Sea” is 4. The year after that book was published, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize.

“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad,considered one of the best books ever, was written at a 6th grade level.

“Crime and Punishment” by Dostoevsky was written at a 7th grade level.

[COPYWRITING] – Writing Recruitment advertisements

BACKGROUND:¬†In 1997, MRF Recruitment advertising ¬†was handled by a different agency. The other agency’s creatives were traditional. The Marketing Manager of MRF wanted something different, powerful. We could win the ¬†MRF Recruitment account if we could present something better.




CLIENT: MRF Tyres Ltd (Chennai)

AGENCY: Goldwire Chennai


BRIEF:¬†Quarter page recruitment advertisement with powerful, motivating copy…

MEDIA: Leading dailies РThe Hindu

YEAR: 1997


ART: Sumesh Peringeth

COPY: Umesh Ponnusamy


Abraham Alapatt gave good briefs and this time too gave a lot of inputs about warriors, battles, wars etc.


I decided to use a lot of metaphors about battles, wars, warriors – inspired by Abraham Alapatt’s – the account director’s brief. Using a previously published advertisement for the information, I coated it and crafted the metaphors into it.


Reportedly, the first advertisement went into print and was supposed to have got in 14,000 responses in the first week…it was noticed by a lot of people including my batch mates in the industry. The Marketing Manager at that time, Mr. Philip Eapen was supposed to have commended the advertisement.

The first one below:

MRF Recruitment Advertisement, 1997
MRF Recruitment Advertisement 1, 1997


Headline: MRF is on the lookout for warriors!

Subhead: India’s only Rs. 2,000 crore tyre giant – the undisputed market leader in all the major tyre segments is on the lookout for high-calibre SALES SUPERVISORS / REPRESENTATIVES

Bodycopy: for its dynamic army of sales personnel, to conquer new sales territories and to further expand its well-established extensive countrywide marketing and sales network. The battlefield is an opportunity filled environment with enormous possibilities for growth and conquests. A highly rewarding career awaits the MRF warrior who is an achievement-oriented professional with excellent communication and inter-personal skills and who can conquer stiff sales targets and win through aggressive selling.

Other essential warrior qualities are a willingness to be on the move with no location constraints and a knowledge of Hindi and any other local language. The warrior should be in his twenties, tough, dedicated, smart and a graduate with a determination to succeed and with 2 years experience in combat, selling highly competitive products.

The ammunition provided will be the most powerful in the market and the spoils of the battle will be among the best in the industry.

Sign Off: Write to the Director, Human Resources, MRF Limited, 124, Greams Road, Chennai 600 006.



They asked us to craft one more….this time I used a hunter-jungle metaphor for the second advertisement.

CLIENT: MRF Tyres Ltd (Chennai)

AGENCY: Goldwire Chennai


BRIEF: Quarter page recruitment advertisement with powerful, motivating copy, following-up on the style of the previous one.

MEDIA: Leading dailies РThe Hindu

YEAR: 1997


ART: Sandesh Talpade

COPY: Umesh Ponnusamy


MRF Recruitment Advertisement No. 2, 1997



Headline: MRF is looking for Hunters!

Subhead: Senior / Middle Managers

Bodycopy: Are you tough, gutsy and determined as Jim Corbett who hunted man-eating tigers in Kumaon? Or as David Livingstone who charted unexplored territory in Africa?

Because today, as you know, the market out there is a jungle. And survival-of-the-fittest is the law.

MRF, the Rs.2000 crore tyre giant reigns supreme in the Indian tyre market jungle and is an undisputed market leader in all the major tyre segments.

MRF stands at the threshold of an exciting new era of globalisation with the widest product range including tyres that have been the unanimous choice for first fitment on the latest world-class cars in India.

To work in this highly rewarding environment of potent dynamism and exciting challenges, you should have a hunting instinct to aggressively innovate methods to corner your prey while bettering your own achievements. Also, as a market hunter, you should have 5 – 10 years experience in leading marketing expeditions with a penchant for travel without location constraints and in selling consumer products and durables.

Your traps and arms are the most powerful brands in the market. And your ability to scent new hunting ground and conquer them will bag you prize catches that are the best in the industry.

Sign Off: Shoot your resume to:  The Director, Human Resources, MRF Limited, 124, Greams Road, Chennai 600 006.