Effective Ad Copy

3 is a Magic Number in Business

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

123, ABC, Snap Crackle and Pop! Soft, Strong and Very Long. No this writer hasn't completely lost the plot. This article looks at the power of serving up info in bite sized chunks of three.

Politicians have long been trained in the art of chopping their messages into three easy to digest pieces.

It works well. It's a known fact that people find it easier to remember three things than say four or five.

Remember the old saying, "The third time's the charm?" If you don't then perhaps the alternative adage that means the same thing "Third time lucky" might ring bells with you.

Strangely, when people are given three options it is usually the third one they go for. The canny business person will take all this on board because the power of three is not to be overlooked and can make a big difference especially when it comes to the success of advertising campaigns.

In visual imagery there is what is known as the Third's Rule to consider. But this also has particular relevance when it comes to advertising copy. A third of the page should be white space. While the remaining should have the message and then the details of the company/product.

3 Great advertising slogans that use the magic of 3:

  • Andrex toilet tissue: Soft, strong and very long
  • Jaguar cars– Grace, pace, space
  • Rice Crispies: Snap, crackle and pop!

3 brilliant ways to use the power of 3 rule in your advertising:

  • Suggest 3 benefits of using your product
  • Give 3 reasons why the customer should buy from you
  • Offer 3 different ways they can pay for your product

3 suggestions regarding the power of 3 in your advertising. Explain that your product is:

  • Bigger, better, cheaper
  • Smaller, lighter, quicker
  • Less fat, higher fiber, lower salt

When you need to give instructions do so in 3s:

  • Choose a style
  • Select your size
  • Click to checkout


  • Register
  • Browse
  • Shop

As a rule, the less complicated each term or instructive text is the more memorable it will be. And that's your aim, to get your message to stick in the audience's mind.

Sometimes a set of questions are used in ad campaigns. A famous pain relief advert posed a question using the rule of three. It ran as follows:

  • Tense nervous headache?

Similarly the 3 rule can work in a different way. For example:

Do you wish you could:

  • Earn more?
  • Work less hours?
  • Work less hard?

It's possible that we are conditioned form early childhood to retain information if it's served to us in threes. Many nursery rhymes and stories are based on the simple rule.

The story of Goldilocks mightn't have been so memorable with four bears. Those blind mice, there were three of them, not two or five. There were three musketeers, and three little pigs.

Alternatively, are so many things structured in threes because we have an innate ability to recognize this pattern?

Use the rule of three in your advertising campaigns and your information is likely to resonate with your audience far better than if you ignore it. Stick with three, it's easy as ABC, or TIC TAC TOE.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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