The Creative Spark!—Tweaking Titles for Top Marks

When writing term papers, seek titles that sing, “Something catchy is coming.”  Then tweak those titles until your thumbs stiffen.

To craft catchy titles, first master the art of slogan-writing.  Mario Pricken, author of Creative Advertising, shares tips for crafting slogans in bold below:

Never snub creative ideas as the best ones need tweaking.

At work, I aimed to create a catchy slogan every day, some days up to five.  I’d churn out so-so jokes.  But then, I’d bounce my half-baked ideas off my boyfriend, who fine-tuned the funnies.  A few of his off-the-cuff funnies weren’t fully polished.  But with tweaking, they turned gold.

Jokes get funnier the more you dig.

I read in Joe Toplyn’s comedy book that his team made a TV spoof of an OJ Simpson trial.  During the trial, a lawyer awkwardly rubbed his hands.  So, the comedy team turned the hand-rubbing into a hand cream commercial.  But the real funny came later when they stumbled on a name for the cream: Oil of OJ.

Comedy tricks turn so-so funnies into solid gold.

So, stuff your jokes with words bearing the funniest letters of the alphabet (k, g, b, p, t, and d).  Use alliteration, consonance, and rhyme.  And tuck the punchline (and punchiest-word) at the very end of the joke.

Use omission to fire up imaginations.

For instance, an ad I saw last week downtown made me think.  The ad said “women don’t care about the paper and scissors.”  What the ad left out was that women care about the rock.  Not just the diamond, but the rock-solid hubby.  The clever jewelry ad required thought—but also had double meaning.

Double meanings work wonders in slogans—and in jokes.

In the case of a joke, I told a wealthy employer that his wife’s soirees revealed his true friends.  When he asked why, I said his guests had to be true friends to stomach his wife’s steak tartar.  (Steak tartar is raw hamburger topped with raw eggs.)  At his next soiree, he told his guests my joke and then quipped, “And as you can tell, she’s not here today.”  The guests howled.  He told me he never heard such laughter.  His quip had more than one meaning:  Either I wasn’t a true friend, the miffed host didn’t send me an invite, or the tartar tasted terrible.  Multiple meanings work well in jokes.

Lastly, take risks with your jokes and slogans.

When we take risks, we break through clichés.  For instance, I aimed to make an ad that suggested pizza-carbs boost energy.  So, I came up with the slogan, “Forget coffee.  Forget blood-doping.  Forget amphetamines.”  My boss rejected the idea; “Too risky,” she said.  But in Mario Pricken’s book, he features an ad of a toilet roll aflame in an Indian restaurant washroom.  The flaming toilet-paper pegged the restaurant as serving the spiciest food.  Risky?  Enough to feature in Creative Advertising.

Now, help me brainstorm a title that sings, “Something catchy is coming.”

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