Let’s Talk Headlines!

As advertising’s 422nd most authoritative copy-based blogger in the North London area, I’m often asked what my favourite headline is.

Well, they’re like children (other people’s children, obviously), so asking me to single out one amongst the many mewling, puking ankle-biters is an almost impossible request.

Anyway, it’s a Waterstones headline that Nigel Roberts wrote in 1998 (part of a campaign that won a Pencil for Copy in 1999):

Why learn from your mistakes when you can learn from someone else’s?

The reasons why it’s so good are manifold: it articulates an elegant truth that I had never seen anyone bring to life before; it’s a classic sentiment that will be appropriate forever; it makes you think about something that affects virtually every single thing you do, but does so in a way that feels warmly gentle rather than harshly didactic; it is 100% appropriate to the client and its products, but at the same time applies to millions of other instances of the benefits of learning; in the space of twelve words, it actually encourages you to read more.

Thanks, Nigel.

Others that spring to mind?

This is a doggy bag. It contains a dead doggy. (RSPCA, David Abbott 1989).
A table for two? Certainly you old trout. (Linguaphone, Tim Delaney 1987).
Somewhere in this picture 2nd lieutenant Eric Heaton lies dying (Imperial War Museum, Indra Sinha 1985).
’66 was a great year for English football. Eric was born. (Nike, Giles Montgomery, 1994)
The loneliest place in the world is the edge of a conversation (The Economist, David Abbott).

Of course, there are hundreds of others.

If I were Scamp, I’d ask you for your own suggestions.