[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 

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[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 – The 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 – The 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.

[COPYWRITING] Synergy Financial – My first print campaign

CLIENT: Synergy Financial, Chennai, India
PRODUCT / SERVICE: Financial products and services
BRIEF: To communicate that Synergy Financial is a Trustworthy, Reliable and Secure financial company because of:
a) 40,000 depositors
b) Rs. 60 crore depositor base
c) Investments in Hire Purchase

MEDIA: 50 x 2 Paper Ads
YEAR: 1997
AGENCY: Goldwire Communications, Chennai
YEAR: 1997
ART: Shaji
COPY & IDEA: Umesh Ponnusamy

INSPIRATION: When I was given the brief with the 3 primary benefits (listed above) and the client requirements of stressing upon the values of Trust, Confidence and Security. I started ideating with these in mind and decided to link each primary benefit with a value in separate ads. That’s when the idea for using verbal imagery of POWER struck me. The headline and subhead were linked with this idea. The third ad is missing – I couldnt get a copy.

After I revised the headline and copy a couple of times guided a bit by Shaji who was then the Creative Director at Goldwire and Paul – Branch Manager and Account Head for Synergy. The layouts were approved on the first go with minor changes. This was my first ad campaign that actually went into print in The Hindu daily in Chennai. Though the size was small, it was noticed. I personally would have preferred a different kind of creative execution that went with the POWER theme…but I guess Shaji’s approach got the ads noticed.

By Neil French’s standards, this would be a weak ad, as it has all the elements – headline, subhead, bodycopy, visual, logo, baseline (btw the baseline was something that I led Paul to come out with).


Headline : The Power of Trust
Subhead : 40,000 depositors have plugged into it.

Bodycopy :

Synergy Financial

· Steady growth for the past 5 years

· CRISIL FA+ rating

· The only Indian finance company to have an Ombudsman.

· Rs. 60 crore depositor base.

· Safe investments in vehicle finance with a good recovery rate.

Baseline : Synergy Financial – Power to the Depositor.


Headline : The Power of Confidence
Subhead : Rs. 60 crore depositor base..

Bodycopy :

Synergy Financial

· Steady growth for the past 5 years

· CRISIL FA+ rating

· The only Indian finance company to have an Ombudsman.

· 40,000 depositors.

· Safe investments in vehicle finance with a good recovery rate.

Baseline : Synergy Financial – Power to the Depositor.

[COPYWRITING] – Strawberry Stripes Sale – My 2nd published ad


CLIENT: Strawberry Stripes, Chennai, India

PRODUCT / SERVICE: Kids Nightwear

BRIEF: To communicate that the popular Strawberry Stripes Kids Nightwear Sale is back again !

MEDIA: Print- Newspaper (The Hindu) 10 x 3

YEAR: 1994-1995

AGENCY: Purple Patch – Minoo Jha, Chennai, India


Comments : My first advertisement to be released of which I could get a copy. The first ad of mine to be ever released was HILL COUNTRY RESORTS – it was a full page ad that was released in Dubai…I couldn’t get a copy…working in a copy services firm had its limitations…sometimes, you couldn’t get art pulls and the like for your portfolio.

Inspiration : Once given the brief which said that I had to communicate that the Strawberry Children’s Nightwear sale is on and that the last year’s sale was a success…the starting of Pink Floyd’s “Blue Skies” from the Wall struck me… a child’s voice is heard to say -“Look Mommy ! There’s a plane up there in the sky.” This seemed appropriate to me as mostly mothers would be interested in shopping for their kids. So my line was dramatic one and drew the attention of the right audience too. I just had to substitute my product in that line and add the word “Again” to give the product a familiarity. Minoo approved it at the first go. I even had a cute visual for the ad which was attached with the copy sheet and sent to the agency but was not taken.


Look Mummy ! It’s Strawberry Stripes Children’s Nightwear Sale Again !
(7th to 11th April – including Sunday).


Yes, folks, we are back with your favourite sale. Of our unique, comfy nightwear for your little angels aged 3-12.

Smart night suits for boys, dreamy night dresses and pyjama night dresses for girls. All tailored with the hallmarks of Strawberry Stripes – unfussy, cozy, comfy and reasonabley priced. Also don’t miss out on our special prices.

Better hurry, stocks are limited. And you have just 5 days to go.


Smart reasonably-priced clothes for kids 0-12.


[COPYWRITING] – Ideating and writing copy for a full page print advertisement – Hill Country Resorts – My 1st published print ad

CLIENT: Hill Country Resorts

PRODUCT / SERVICE: Time Share Resorts at Kodaikanal, India

BRIEF: To communicate that Hill Country is the only resort company to open its Time Share resort on time.

MEDIA: Print advertisement, Full page

YEAR: 1994-1995

AGENCY: Purple Patch, Minoo Jha

BACKGROUND: My very first published advertisement that I wrote copy for was a full page one published in Dubai.

Hill Country Resorts, Kodaikanal wanted to communicate that they were the first time share resorts in Kodai to open on time as promised. The brief triggered images of races and we decided to add “Olympic” in the headline as a hook.

Guided by Minoo, my first copywriting guru, she helped me craft the headline. I chunked the bodycopy under sub-headings – that came naturally to me as I wrote the bodycopy. Aparna, a colleague worked with me a bit on the bodycopy too..specially the ‘As You Like it’ subhead was her idea. Minoo too tweaked the copy a bit.

The only copy (art pull) I had of the ad was submitted for my final copywriting project in college.

Posting the copy below:

Headline :
If opening a holiday resort on time was like running the Olympics 100 metre dash final, we’d get the gold.

Bodycopy :
The excitement and tension in running the Olympic 100 metre dash final and the exhilaration when you win the gold…that’s what we feel at Hill Country Resorts, Kodaikanal. Because we are the first holiday resorts in India to open on time. That’s good news to our time-share investors. They can now avail of our time-share at the earliest and experience Hill Country- Kodai’s special privileges :

Two’s Company, Three a Crowd
We at Hill Country have ensured that you can enjoy your holiday without you and your neighbour stepping on each other’s toes. By providing lots of space between the cottages and all around them.

A Beautiful View is Worth a Thousand Words
A thousand words is what it would take to describe the view from your Hill Country cottage window. And it would surely take less to describe the shabby view which you get at our neighbouring competitor’s.

Home “Sweeter” Home
You’ll find Hill Country cottages cozily designed and comfortably furnished. And the architecture…transports you into a fairy tale world when compared to the box like concrete structures at other resorts.

No more “Q” please
At Hill Country-Kodai, you’ll also find our facilities more user-friendly. You won’t have to experience the ‘law of the jungle’ and the ‘survival of the fittest’ as in some of the other resorts.

As you like it
And finally, at Hill Country-Kodai, you’ll enjoy the privilege of exchanging your week at your convenience and without any fuss.

What are you waiting for ? Dash to Hill Country…