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Who’s on first…but where are the 5 W’s?

Two full-page ads in The Kansas City Star caught my eye recently because they left out an all-important piece of information. WHERE.

First, there was the ad announcing Paul McCartney’s concert at the BOK Center. Where is it? You would think that American Express, which bought the ad, would want us to know. But no such luck. I had to use Google to find out that it’s in Tulsa. (OK, that explains the OK in the name…)

Second, I saw another full-page ad announcing Macy’s new store at Summit Fair. Where is it? I guessed Lee’s Summit, Mo., because of the name, but the ad gives no clue. Fortunately, several pages later is a JC Penney ad that includes directions and a map.

In J-school (journalism) at the University of Missouri, we learned that the lead of every news story should include the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why…and sometimes How. Whether you’re writing a news release, an ad or Web copy, it’s still a good way to double check your copy.

Otherwise, you’re wasting your client’s money.

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