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Writing copy that gets consumers excited: case study

When you have a product that some people find boring, spice up your ad copy like this office supply company has, and get consumers excited about anything you put in front of them. This case study will get you inspired!



Office supplies and ad copy

If you have seen an episode of “The Office,” you know that paper products and office supplies can be anything but exciting. In fact, the business is so boring that the comedy revolves around the poor management of an under-enthusiastic company in a dying industry.

But what if you gave a company $6 million and unlimited creativity to make the irrelevant interesting? Think you can’t be sold sticky notes or pens or get excited about a pad of paper or a dry erase board? Think again.

Enter which has brought together a team of creatives that serves as an insanely useful and shining example of how to make any ad copy creative – even on something that most people find mundane.

Let’s compare some descriptions

Read through this list and you will find inspiration to go revamp your web copy, flyers, print ads, social media profiles and everything else – clever copy is hard to execute, but has got it goin’ on!

Sticky notes:

  • “Ideal for temporarily marking pages in books and reference materials.” –
  • “Adhesive backing makes notes defy gravity, as if by magic.” –

Ballpoint pens:

  • “New boldly colored metal barrels in trendy colors. Fun, boldly colored metal barrels. Traditional nonslip grip. Stainless steel pocket grip.” –
  • “Plastic’s so passé. Turn things up to 11 with this metal pen. Solid brass barrel, feels oh-so-money in your hands. Swiss ink, ’cause they know what they’re doing. Medium tip writes like a dream.” –

Small notebook:

  • “With its subtle swirl design, this spiral notebook adds a touch of style to your everyday note taking. The plastic front and back cover and double-coil binding provide durability, while the inside pocket helps keep small notes in one place.” –
  • “It’s irresistible. Francisco in Accounting eyed you at the water cooler chatting with Jenny while clutching your white notebook. If it goes missing, you know whose desk to check.” –

Dry erase markers:

  • “Low-odor formula. Chisel tips write narrow or broad lines. AP-certified non-toxic. Black ink” –
  • “Wipes off easily when you write something dumb on a dry-erase board, but stays put when you write something brilliant. One each of red, blue, purple, and black.” –


  • “Sturdy, attractive and modern.” –
  • “Lines so sleek, design so awesome, colors so vibrant you may find yourself making up excuses to measure everything.” –

Laptop bag:

  • “Lightweight case helps to protect your laptop.” –
  • “I look like a Madison Avenue accessory, but I’m really just a well-made, well-priced, expertly designed laptop bag with dreamy pockets. You’ll want one in every color.” –

What this means for your business

What is there really to say about office supplies? Here’s a thingy for tape, it sits on your flat desk. There’s a pen, you’ve seen a million of them. No, poppin has figured out the magic ingredients to getting people excited about buying a dang pen.

As a professional, you may have a product that anyone outside of your office finds to be boring, but if’s magic can rub off on you, people might just share your enthusiasm for your product!

About Poppin:
“Poppin, Inc is an innovative office products company defined by an exceptional customer experience and beautiful product designs. It is privately held and financed by J. Christopher Burch, Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital and a group of angel investors. Poppin intends to become the first company that makes buying, using, looking at, and thinking about office products an extraordinary experience.

Founded in September 2009, Poppin’s mission is to provide both individuals and businesses with the tools they need to be happy at work. Poppin promises eye poppin products, jaw droppin prices and mind bogglin service to create an extraordinary customer experience. The company launched their E-commerce site in Beta ( in June 2011. Poppin plans to have an official brand and website launch in Summer 2012.”

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Steven Konefsky

    March 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

    If you can’t put it into words that excite and entice buyers, and creates a wow moment online, then you have no value in today’s marketplace. Anyone can show homes, but not everyone can draw buyers…and that is what sellers and buyers need

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.



Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.



Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.



Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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