The 6-word copywriting challenge

Six-Word MemoirsRecently, in a four-way e-mail conversation with friends, someone mentioned talking to a teacher from our high school days. When my name came up, the teacher described his memory of me in six words: “wavy hair, glasses, big into theater.”

Wow. I didn’t know how to take that – the very core of who I am, or was, compressed into six highly descriptive words. When I shared my dismay, one of my friends referred me to a book that dealt with this very idea.

It’s called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

Here are some excerpts from the book, which I’m quoting from

Some writers tell their stories with humor and self-deprecation:

>> Woman Seeks Men–High Pain Threshold.
>> My first concert: Zappa. Explains everything.
>> Aging late bloomer yearns for do-over.

As you would expect, there are many bitter or bittersweet references to relationships gone bad:

>> Girlfriend is pregnant, my husband said.
>> Just in: boyfriend’s gay. Merry Christmas.
>> Let’s just be friends, she said.

Some lucky people sent memoirs that radiate contentment.

>> Alone at home, cat on lap.
>> Hope my obituary spells “debonair” correctly.
>> Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that.

There is the contingent who describe themselves without judgment:

>> Gave commencement address, became sex columnist.
>> Mormon economist marries feminist. Worlds collide.
>> Still lost on road less traveled.

And last but not least, the philosophers who distill life experience into a greater truth:

>> Palindromic novels fall apart halfway through.
>> Cheese is the essence of life.
>> Wandering imagination opens doors to paradise.

I occurred to me that this would be a top-notch copywriting exercise. No, I won’t ask you to write about yourself. That’s just too hard. Instead, pick a product, any product, and try to describe it in exactly six words.

Here’s one for beer: “Low carbs. Makes date look great.”

You can do this on your own, but I’d really like to see what you come up with. Post your six-word masterpiece below.

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One Response to “The 6-word copywriting challenge”

  1. Chad Board on December 24th, 2008 9:46 am

    Adventure Travel:

    Agony plus adrenaline, best fun ever.

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