Is Your Advert Letting You Down?


Could your advert benefit from the 4 U formula_- This is master copy writers’ secret to writing copy that gets results.

Let’s get this straight. If your reason for writing adverts is for any other reason other than to sell and get money this post is not for you. I subscribe to E. Kennedy’s definition of advertising : “ Salesmanship in print.”

Let’s get right to the point:

The 4 U’s Formula helps convince prospects that you  might be worthy of their attention. It was first coined by Michael Masterson a master copy writer himself.

The 4 U’s stand for Urgent, Unique, Ultra Specific and Useful.

Urgency: is the driver of action.

If you want action today put urgency in your adverts. If all advertisers are honest they will testify that they desire action. Forget building the brand. How do you build a brand when you are not making money now. If you do not get response immediately or quick enough the brand might not survive enough to be built.

Money builds the brand.

Clever and witty statements don’t. Urgency taps into one of the psychologies of selling. People are afraid of missing out on something good. If there is no urgency in your advert people will put away action on the side and hope to act tomorrow. But once the action is postponed procrastination sets in and as we all know, this manner of advertising pays no bills.

Urgency is a time function.

Answer the question in the mind of the prospect. For how long will this sale be there? Is it forever? For how long is the extra benefit ? Forever? If its unqualified in terms of time your advert is dead in the water.


“Solar geysers sold here”. Is a lame excuse for an advert. It’s just an informative sign. This is like saying “me too.” Prospects want to know why they should buy now.

“Solar geysers sold with free installation before the 5th of September”. Well that’s something. If I get it after the 5th I pay for the installation.

Get our solar geyser now and stand a chance to win a fully paid for holiday trip to the Caribbean on or before the 5th of September.

Do not publish an advert without urgency. What do you think you are doing?


The advert that with-stands the test of the prospect’s quizzing mind should be unique. Uniqueness is the differentiator. Uniqueness is not just about something new but may be about a fresh new angle to say the same benefits. There are always two ways of saying the same thing. Chose the fresher one.


Going with our solar geyser example.

“Save 40% on electrical costs”. This may be a good headline but not all the time. It says the benefit doesn’t it? A different angle might be:

Why clever home owners save 40% on electrical costs every month? Who else wants to save electrical costs by  40%? Uniqueness breathes fresh air into an old tried and tested advert winning newer prospects and customers. A winning advert is one that wins money from the customers. It might not get any accolades or standing ovations from colleagues in the advertising industry.


Be specific about what you are offering. Sometimes advertisers just say, “Free gift inside.” This works to attract the curious prospects. But in some instances, being ultra-specific selects the right audience to your advert. Isn’t the right audience the one that buys after all?

Free E book on How to create results getting adverts will be considered Ultra Specific. Being specific may eliminate many others but it’s far better to attract the right crowd than to attract a lot of the wrong crowd. With the right crowd success rate goes through the roof.


The advert or part of the advert will appeal to the reader’s self-interest by offering a desirable benefit.

“Go solar and save 40% on energy costs”. This advert’s benefit is saving money.

Whatever is advertised is something the prospect will find useful.

Written by Aubrey Mavhuli

Chief Copywriter

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