When crafting an ad I suppose,
It’s best to compile then compose.
To wrangle with thoughts,
Can tie you in knots.
First unravel, then straighten, then prose.
Ad writers don’t often reach for the limerick to use in their ad copy; however, this rhetorical device can be effective for the right advertiser, the right message, and the right conditions. Can three rights make a wrong?
Don’t be worried about being branded as simple or uncouth (we’ve all heard about that man from Nantucket). Famous authors have busted out a limerick and it didn’t harm them. Ogden Nash, Lewis Carroll, Mother Goose, Rudyard Kipling, Erica Jong, H.G. Wells, and William Shakespeare all wrote some fine limericks. The meter and rhyme are easy to follow.
These authors’ intent was humor. Why not use it for an ad? Humor isn’t easy and can take your message to unproductive places. As Roy H. Williams observes in Secret Formulas in the Wizard of ads, “Humor can sharpen the point like a whetstone, but it’s just as likely to blunt your point and make the ad unproductive.” Roy winds up that paragraph asking “Is your goal to entertain or persuade?” (Secret Formulas, Ch. 51/Nitroglycerin) Short ponder. “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
When you set a course to entertain, persuasion can still be a destination. The limerick can be your vehicle. It’s persuasion with the top down. The clown car body encases a Honda engine (colorful, but reliable). The structure itself tells the listener this is a fun ride. So what’s next? Lunch?
In celebration of Grilled Cheese Day (which easily became Grilled Cheese Week), I lined out some limericks for Cheddars Gourmet Grilled Cheese. The business started in a lunch truck and lately added a sit-down restaurant. The limerick ads give the business a bit of whimsy. Anecdotally, the ads drew customers’ comments.
There once was a mom who knew better
Than to leave her son home with a shredder.
He went for the cheese.
Turned up the degrees.
And now he serves up his grilled cheddar.
Celebrate Grilled Cheese Week at Cheddars on Fuller. For promos, prizes, and more, go to Cheddars-Grilled-Cheese-dot-com.
There once was a lad I am told
Who flipped head over heels for gold–
Not rings, pins, or keys,
His passion was cheese…
His treasures through Cheddars bestowed.
Celebrate Grilled Cheese week now with promos, prizes, and lunch or dinner at Cheddars on Fuller! Cheddars-Grilled-Cheese-dot-com.
Two More Examples:
Humor does not have the “shelf life” of other commercials, so I wrote multiple limericks. It’s easier to memorize a limerick than the 46 lines in Robert Frost’s The Mending Wall (although not as edifying). But unlike masterful poetry, limericks can be crafted by us common folk. Don’t you feel an itch to write your own? I won’t think any less of you. If you want to exercise your humor muscle, try structuring it in a limerick. To use popular vernacular, it’s a humor hack. Cheesy? Perhaps. Fun? Try it.