The Egg Assignment

egg.jpg

This is one of the assignments I like to give to my copywriting students.

You’ve probably seen one of these before. It’s an egg.

I want you to write something on an egg that makes me want to eat it.

Take any angle you want.

Go to the store and buy an egg and write the thing on it and bring it to class. You might want to use a hard‐boiled egg.

These are due in Monday’s class. I will give you a pass/fail grade on it. If you fail, you can try again in any other class. If you pass, you can be finished, or you can try to come up with a better egg. Or you can give your idea to a struggling classmate.

You get to keep your eggs.

At the start of class, I would have the students, one at a time, set their eggs in the middle of the table. I would read whatever was on the egg. I would judge the egg based on one simple factor: did I want to eat that egg? I wouldn’t think about it very much.

Some eggs were very clever. Some tried to be funny. Some gave a functional benefit—protein or healthy snack.

Sometimes the message made a difference. I might feel like I could use a healthy snack. Sometimes I would chuckle but not want to eat the egg. Sometimes I would pick the first egg simply because I was hungry. Sometimes I would pick no eggs because I wasn’t hungry.

It was frustrating for the students, because it was like their creative idea only sometimes made a difference in whether or not they passed or failed that day. Which was exactly the point.

There are dozens of factors that go into whether or not a consumer buys the product you’re trying to sell. Your creative idea is usually pretty low on the list. Way below whether or not the consumer happens to be hungry at that moment. So remember that. You have to be relevant. You have to be persuasive. You also have to be lucky.

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