Can Great Ad Copy Sell Paper Notebooks in a Digital Age?

by Joanne Wallace

Ernest Hemingway writing

Like most writers, I'm a bit nerdy about notebooks.

I've had dozens of them: big and small, lined and un, plain and fancy.

I fill them with stray thoughts. Ideas. Grocery lists. I take them to meetings and coffee shops. There's one in my purse. In my car. On my desk.

But in all these years of notebook nerdism, I have never run across a notebook with its own story. Until now.

Moleskine: Notebook of Champions (or at least champion copywriting)

Moleskine Notebook

Friends, I give you the plain black Moleskine notebook, each of which comes with a card bearing this copy:

"The Moleskine brand was born in 1997, reproducing the legendary notebook of great artists and thinkers of the past two centuries, from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin: a trusty, pocket-sized travel companion, the anonymous black notebook was the faithful keeper of sketches, notes, stories and tips before they became famous pictures or pages of well-loved books."

Come on! What artist or writer doesn't want a notebook linked with Van Gogh or Hemingway?

And who doesn't want a notebook that might one day lead to a best-selling novel ... a Paris gallery opening ... a Pulitzer prize?

Find the Benefits Lurking Beneath the Features

A less-skilled copywriter might have written about the notebook's features: the buttery-soft black cover, the sleek lined pages, the convenient size that fits in your pocket.

But no. This copy digs far beneath the features. Instead, it sells the true benefit of owning a Moleskine notebook: artistic integrity. Fame and fortune. Lasting excellence.

And for that, there's always a market.

What are the real benefits of your product? Make sure you sell them in your copy!

(Oh, and if you want to join the ranks of Hemingway, Chatwin and, well, me, visit Moleskine at




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Heather Wright

Love this post, Joanne. A great lesson in promoting the benefits of your product. A great lesson for copywriters, too!

2013-05-24 12:36:49 |

Helen Lammers-Helps

Love your website, Joanne! It's appealing, clean and concise.

2013-07-05 04:23:57 |

Sharon Blomfield

Great follow-up to a whole other discussion we had. I love your perspective.

2013-07-05 04:27:17 |


... we could all use more "artistic integrity. Fame and fortune. Lasting excellence" ...

2013-07-05 11:03:39 |


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