USA Today offers $1M free ads for ‘smart’ copy

October 8, 2012 |  by  |  Marketing observations  |  , , ,


Writer friends and fellow marketers, we’re direly needed.

Today marks USA Today’s  launch of a print ad competition. They’re offering $1 million of free ad space to a winner who can capture interest with zesty, clever copy.

Michael Wolff, the USA Today writer who convinced executives to launch the contest, explains the call for savvy copy:

“While technological disruption is most often blamed for the existential predicament of the media business, the more precise problem is that advertising doesn’t work as well as it used to work. This presents a crisis not only for newspapers, magazines and television — but also, according to the stock market, for Facebook. We just don’t look at advertising, respond to it, or believe it, as much as we once did, wherever it appears.

Maybe this is the reason: There are no writers in advertising anymore. Johnny who can’t write has gone into advertising.”

He says “copywriter” is a job that now hardly exists, and “almost everybody in the advertising business will tell you that there are more efficient ways to influence the consumer than writing copy.”

Yet, with the media saturation of our day, it’s only gotten more difficult to stand out. To capture hearts, and win brand loyalty, where are writers that will share ideas and shape a revolution? (I happen to know a few, by the way. Check out Amy’s and Katie’s writing site. They’re crazy talented copywriters.)

I love the following anectdote Wolff shares:

The late Jay Chiat, then CEO of Apple’s agency, Chiat/Day, once told me that every time a new person was put on his account, Steve Jobs, who was as shaped by good advertising as he was by innovative technology, would say “but can he (or she) write?”

That’s a question it seems every client should reasonably ask.

“Pictures,” Jobs once told Chiat, “Are easy. Words are hard.”

We writers can’t help but smile at that one, nodding our heads. And our secret? Words are fun.

So, writer friends, feeling lucky? Better yet, smart?

Enter the USA Today Print Competition here.

Submission closes November 26, 2012. That’s four days after Thanksgiving, and you just may find yourself with one million reasons to be grateful. Or maybe I will.

P.S. Since I’m throwing you a bone here, this is the deal: If you win…I want a shout out, and 5 percent. Cool?

Big winner image courtesy of The Economic Collapse


  1. Thanks for your grateful informations, this blogs will be really help for Free ads.

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