Opening Lines, How to Write

A good ad is a series of vivid mental images projected onto the movie screen of imagination. Here are a few tips for writing opening lines that will flash and crackle in the mind with the smell of burnt electricity:

  1. Name something easily seen. “A rose…”
  2. Modify it only after you have a named it. “… bright red and big.”
  3. Choose verbs that carry context. I said “flash… crackle… burnt electricity,” and you saw lightning even though I never used the word. You were engaged by the language, a willing participant in our co-creation of a vivid mental image.
  4. Clarity first, creativity last. Creativity that blurs clarity is pretentious. Creativity that sharpens clarity is genius. How big is the idea in your mind? How quickly can you transfer it?
  5. Shorter is quicker, and quicker hits harder. Always hit hard.

(An excerpt from the Monday Morning Memo, On What Will You Shine Your Spotlight of Words? By Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads)