Reprinted from The Catalog Marketer

How to Write Effective Call-Out Copy

To Increase Your Sales

by Rene Gnam

Call-outs are an artist's way of making a single photo or illustration larger than life by blowing up a small portion, using insets, or, more commonly, identifying products, benefits or copy with coded graphic references.

     Your problem as a copywriter is what to do with the limited space available.

     Here are some solutions:

  1. Ask for more space!

  2. Begin call-out copy with an action verb.

  3. State a unique benefit even if it's repeated in a headline or body copy.

  4. Mention savings or palatable pricing.

     A tightly-written example of the last three points would be:

End clogged cleats cheaply.

  1. Marry a feature to a benefit.

  2. Reinforce deadline urgency.

     An example of the last two points would be:

Get the enhanced software version by ordering before June 1.

  1. Marry a deadline and a premium.


Order by May 25 and get matching luggage tags FREE.

  1. Bold face benefits and italicize action verbs.

  2. Indicate that the inset or blow-up or call-out is only "X% of actual size".

  3. Link call-outs together for greater emphasis on selling points.

  4. Use an "overline", a mini-headline tying together the entire story of all the call-outs below.

  5. Use an "underline", another mini-head under the photo, suggesting that the reader reply.

  6. Avoid the temptation to use only features. Features bore. Benefits sell.

  7. Number your call-outs to force readership.

  8. Ask your art director to use color for the numbers.

Using these techniques leads to a cluttered impression, but if it's carefully-planned clutter, it'll help sell. Call-out copy, by its position of importance adjacent to illustrative matter, guides the reader right into your selling story.


Rene Gnam is an independent response marketing consultant

specializing in creative advertising techniques.

He can be reached at 813-407-8400


Photo of Marketing Consultant Rene Gnam

Rene Gnam is a Marketing Consultant and Advertising Copywriter

logo for Rene Gnam

I'm usually in Florida, and here are the numbers:

FAX 813-475-4354      CELL 813-407-8400

You can reach me right now by e-mail:


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