I love late night local television advertisements. Garry and I sometimes sing along with the text. It’s remarkably similar from one ad to the next, regardless of what is being sold.
“It’s free! Gratis! All you have to pay is shipping and handling!” The price for which is usually more than the item is worth. For a while, this was the thing on auction sites. The price? One cent. Shipping and handling were a mere $19.95.
“And if you buy one now, you can get a second one free. Plus shipping and handling.”
I get the shipping, which is a lot less than they are charging … but what’s the handling thing? Picking the item up and sticking it in a box? Adding a label? Collecting the money?
Maybe you are being charged “extra” because they have to drive to the bank with your money?
“And even better: But NOW and you can have three — that’s right! — THREE of these amazing (knives, shampoos, weight loss products, tire pressure gauges, ad nauseum) for the same low, low price of nothing except the minor cost of shipping and handling!”
They never tell you the price of the shipping and handling. With good reason! Is this how people buy those weird gifts you get at Christmas? In those bright boxes that say “As shown on TV”?
My first professional writing job that wasn’t for radio was writing these advertisements. They appear in print, too. You’ve seen them. They are full-page ads in cheesy magazines. They used to show up in the back of comic books. They pay about $800 for each ad. If you do them often, you can create a boilerplate for them and churn out a dozen a week.
Ah, I bet now I’ve got your attention!