Clever headlines rarely work because they're usually confusing. A confused prospect is a prospect who won't buy.
Case in point: I was shocked and dismayed to see what one window company wrote atop a recent direct response flier.
Side one said:
Eliminate Window Shopping With The "Eliminator Window" Series...
Side two said:
Eliminator windows brighten your outlook...
If you were selling windows through a direct mail flier, what would your headline say? Hopefully, nothing remotely close to the drivel above.
Do people buy windows so they can stop "window shopping?" No!
Do people buy windows to "brighten their outlook?" No again!
Besides the obvious confusion these headlines cause, they fail to address the conversation that's already happening in the prospect's mind.
My best guess (without doing any research) is that homeowners shopping for new windows do so for one of two reasons:
Their current windows have broken seals, allowing moisture to gather between the panes.
Their current windows aren't energy efficient, resulting in higher heating and cooling costs.
Based on these assumptions, a much better, more direct headline would say:
Amazing Low-E Windows & Insulated Glass Frames Reduce Air Infiltration, Slashing Heating & Cooling Bills By 20%... Guaranteed! (What's More, Each Window Comes With a 14-Year Warranty
Against Defects or Broken Seals!)
Much clearer, don't you think?
The next time you think about writing a clever headline, consider the sage advice of David Garfinkel:
Most of the time, the urge to be clever is a short-cut to avoid doing the work of creating an enticing promise that will prepare the reader to take the action you are looking for. Resist the temptation; a straightforward headline almost always works better than a clever one.