John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter

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advertising copywriter mentorship: sample project 1

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Sample project #1: concepting. “Concepting” is an important bit of advertising jargon for the copywriter. It means “to develop ideas.” When you concept, either with a partner or alone, the important thing is quantity. Quality comes from quantity. It is not unusual - in fact, it’s typical - for an advertising copywriter to write 100 or more headlines and ideas for a single project. Here, the assignment is to write 60 headlines or visual ideas for the following client and product.

When you have at least 60 concepts, review them and put a * next to the ones you especially like. You should have at least a half-dozen (if not, continue to develop concepts). Write a brief sentence or two that tells why you think that line would work especially well.

Deadline: one week (five working days) from today.

Client: National Builders, Inc.
Product Name: Parktree Square
Product Category: townhome community
Job: ad concepts

What makes our product/story unique?
Each townhome has a private courtyard-style front entry and a small private back yard with gated access to a central shared park. This park is not accessible to the public; the only way in is through one of the townhomes that surround it. The shared park has a playground, a walking path, benches, a basketball court, and covered picnic tables. Because they are two-story townhomes (two separate houses sharing a common wall), Parktree Square homes offer incredible value. They are priced much lower than similarly sized detached homes. There will be five phases, each built around a shared park. In the middle of the five phases is a recreation center with a pool, whirlpool spa, tennis courts, and party room.

Who are we talking to?
Our typical buyer is a first-time buyer. They are either young couples (age 20-35) or young families (age 20-35 with one or two children under 10).

What ACTION should we cause?
Tour our model homes.

What ONE THING should we communicate?
Parktree Square is a great place to live.

What is our SINGLE most-appealing feature?
Central shared park. You get your own small back yard, plus private access to an open area larger than any back yard.

What is the MAIN benefit of that feature?
You get both privacy and open space. A park is just outside your back door. You’ll actually get to meet your neighbors.

What are our supporting features AND benefits?

What is our worst disadvantage?
We’re townhomes, not single-family detached homes. Many first-time homebuyers would rather keep renting until they have enough saved up for a “real” house. We’d like first-time homebuyers to consider that a Parktree Square townhome offers much more than a “real” house, especially in the price range.

What are our competitor’s significant advantages and disadvantages?
Apartments and rental housing offer many housing options at many price levels. Rentals are currently plentiful, and rents are lower than they have been in years. However, you don’t get the tax benefits (or pride) of homeownership. Housing dollars vanish instead of going towards building equity in a valuable asset.

Condominiums are typically cheaper than our townhomes, but often feel more like apartment units than a “home.” Most have central shared amenities and recreational facilities.

There are other townhome developments, most built around a central recreation hall/pool area. Most are priced somewhat lower than our townhomes, because none have the shared park concept. As a result, most are much less neighborly feeling.

Single-family detached homes are typically more-expensive and, in this price range, have fewer shared amenities. None, for example, give residents access to a semi-private park and few provide a community pool or recreation area. However, they tend to have larger individual yards and give more a sense of owning your own home.

Are there any unusual circumstances (competitive environment, market conditions, seasonal factor, publicity, etc.)?
Interest rates are going up, which adds urgency to the idea that if you’re going to buy, buy now. On the other hand, banks are being cautious about lending to first-time borrowers, so competition for qualified buyers is very intense.

Phase 1 is built and almost fully occupied; Phase 2 is near completion and is nearly sold out; Phase 3 is being built and is selling now, Phase 4 is being built and is selling now, Phase 5 is taking names for an interest list.

Are there any mandatories?
None

Next: sample project 2