Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Which Headline Writing Style is Best?

January 11th, 2007 by Bob Bly

Here are headlines from two different promotions for two different products in the same category: prostate supplements designed to reduce prostate swelling and eliminate urination problems:

A. Male urination problems?

B. Pee like a firehose.

Which approach do you think works better … and why?


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2007 at 8:01 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

54 responses about “Which Headline Writing Style is Best?”

  1. Solo Business Marketing said:

    I choose “B.”

    “A” states a problem, and no one wants to admit they have one.

    “B” aims straight at the solution using a phrase in which men identify.

  2. Jim Logan said:

    I’m writing this comment at a little past 7AM. It’s my first smile of the day. I love this post 🙂

    I’ll go with B. Between the two headlines, the article titled “Pee like a firehose” sounds like the better read. If I had this problem, that’s the solution I’d be looking for.

    And what man doesn’t want to pee like a firehose? Even if you don’t have a urinary problem today…you still want to read the article.

  3. Suzanne Ryan said:

    Interesting. This might be a judgment call better left to men. The image and implication of peeing like a firehose did not quite do it for me. lol!

  4. Jonathan Kantor said:

    I’ll go with A.

    The term sounds too much like the often used expression “Drinking from the Information Firehose”.

    The thought of combining the two is too difficult to imagine.

  5. Chris Williams said:

    I’d go with B, for the same reasons stated in #1. I had this same problem with a client’s website today, in fact. Their headline stated the problem they wanted to solve for customers. But they didn’t mention the solution until 2 paragraphs down!

    If I want a solution for a problem – especially a potentially-embarrassing one – I don’t want to hear more about the problem. I want to get a solution, fast!

  6. Mike Sieber said:

    Bob, I’m definitely going with B. Not only does it hit men where it counts, but it’s intriguing enough that, even if I didn’t have any problems in that area, I’d still want to read it.

  7. Chris Moore said:

    I would definitely go with “B.”

    Admittedly, “A” identifies the content of the article better. However, what good is copy if no one reads it?

    On the other hand, “B” will entice readers to indulge in the text itself. And even if those with prostate/urination problems don’t see it, the headline should create some buzz and cause people to tell other people.

    In a word, “B” pulls people in, and the gets out the word.

  8. Julie Ann Waid said:

    I loved “B”, and if I saw that on a billboard, I’d definitely give it a longer stare than I would “A”. For me, it comes down to the benefit thing — “Have urinary problems?” is OK as a qualifier question, and maybe as an attention getter, but “Pee like a firehose” is better. Not only because it’s refreshingly frank, but it’s a straight benefit any male with this condition is going see, think “I wish…how?” and keep reading.

  9. Copywriting Services said:

    Hi Bob,

    I like Headline A as it flags down with a problem right off the bat.

    My choice is “A”,

    Edward Santosh

  10. Jodi Kaplan said:

    B, I guess. I agree with Suzanne that this is an issue best left to the men!

  11. Ben Settle said:

    Too bad they’re run by different companies.

    They’d make a great combined headline:

    “Male Urination Problems? Here’s How To Pee Like A Firehose”

  12. Alexey Novikov said:

    I believe, that the correct answer is “C”: test.

    But is testing is not possible, I’d choose “A” because it adresses to those who have such problems.

    I don’t think that all of us want to pee like a firehose. I don’t believe that people will gladly tell others “Wow! What a good headline, you should read how to pee like a firehose!”

    Somebody wrote that “A” states a problem, and no one wants to admit they have one. Okay, if a man does lost his leg, what’s best for him:

    A. Read where to find a good prothesis or
    B. Read “Jump like a kangaroo”


  13. Shamus said:

    I’m for A.

    If I have a prostate problem, the ad with Headline A will catch my attention. Because no matter how much I don’t want to admit to having prostate problem, deep down inside I still know the condition exists. By directly stating the problem, the ad allows me to know immediately what is it talking about, and then I’ll read the rest of it. Usually I’m not keen to spend time reading things that doesn’t address my needs.

    B is interesting, I agree. But I really wouldn’t be bothered with jokes when I’m having a medical condition. It’s very likely that I may not even associate it with my prostate problem, and thus I might just give the ad a miss. My conclusion is: B intrigues ad people. A works on the common guy.

  14. Alexey Novikov said:

    Shamus, You’re absolutely right!

  15. Robert Rosenthal said:

    I agree with Ben, who suggested a test with a combination of the two ideas. Also, I wonder if “racehorse” would beat “firehose.” (I’d move ahead with the former if I had to pick between the two without testing.)

    Last time I looked, the “Wall Street Journal” was capable of running three-way split run tests. So an a/b/c test could look like this:

    Test a: Male urination problems?
    Test b: Pee like a racehorse.
    Test c: Male urination problems? Pee like a racehorse.

  16. Dave Alston; copywriter, poet, musician, entrepreneur said:

    Claude Hopkins Scientific Advertising Audio CD For 1 Penny?

    Hi everyone,
    just a little note to let you know that the audio MP3’s I promised you for Scientific Advertising are ready for you to download. You can help yourself to the first three chapters completely free or (I must be crazy doing this…)…

  17. Fern said:

    Only problem with B (besides the gross visual image I’m now having) is that woman can pee like that too. Really, we can. So is that a problem?

  18. CUBICLE RANT » Pee like a firehose said:

    […] Here are headlines from two different promotions for two different products in the same category: prostate supplements designed to reduce prostate swelling and eliminate urination problems: […]

  19. Dave McCoy said:

    I agree with Shamus.
    A. will attract the attention of the target market.
    B. Is that even desirable???

  20. Dan Fletcher said:

    A for me.

    B sounds like too much hype. I don’t think making an over-the-top, unbelievable claim right from the start is going to gain the prospects trust. It’s the kind of heading I’d expect in a spam email, and how many of those get read, and *believed*?

  21. Bob Bly said:

    Guys, I have no data for A. But B is an enormously successful promotion!

  22. Jennifer Bennett said:

    I think B works because it gets into the head of someone with male urination problems. To most of us, going to the loo is a break in the day. Put yourself in the shoes of someone with urinary incontinence and you feel discomfort, shame, and self doubt. Being able to pee like a firehose may seem funny to people without the problem, but to a person with incontinence it sounds like a miracle. Hence good advertising.

    Girls are more insightful. (Had to score one for the team.)

  23. Christina said:

    What about C. Pee like a racehorse?

    It appeals to a man’s sense of virility “Mmm strong like stallion…”

  24. Charles Parisi said:

    No comparison – “B” by a wide margin if the promo is geared toward consumers. “B” works better for the same reason tabloids run engaging titles so you’ll buy them at the supermarket checkout!

  25. Rich Barber said:

    Heh. It’s gotta be “B” for so many reasons.

    1. It’s an active sentence.
    2. It’s got directness and charm.
    3. It’s attention grabbing.
    4. As someone pointed out, it communicates the solution rather than identifying the problem.


  26. The Black Plague said:

    The Black Plague a Brief History

    The black plague was one of the turning points of the 15th century and caused a massive change to the worlds demographics.

  27. gsdvolovkx said:

    Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! hcvvrhvgrrasy

  28. Anonymous said:

    Bare Tit Nikki Cox

    Frequencies bare nikki tit cox sudden. Claudja Ferrari Kitana Baker nation hundreds; Cap eCoral?

  29. Corwin said:

    puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale in oregon,pug puppies for sale in az,pug puppies for sale in va,pug puppies near mepugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale quite an experience. We do not consider ourselves concerned with earning money. All our Pug puppies are raised at home in a family/friendly environment making our Pug puppies completely at ease with other pets.pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me.

  30. robert said:

  31. Joe Clark said:

    Best Merchant Cash Advance Leads are exclusive Leads addressed to you Merchant Cash Advance Leads is the Qualified MCA Leads Data provider as a firm in the entire globe.

  32. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure offers their customers the highest quality hoods and pullover hoodies for kids. Get the best available boys Hoodies and hoodies for girls in Pakistan. All types of denim jackets for girls so they can stay in comfort without compromising on style. So, come to Ndure for amazing pullover hoodies for girls.

    Ndure offers their customers the highest quality hoods and pullover hoodies for kids. Get the best available boys Hoodies and hoodies for girls in Pakistan. All types of denim jackets for girls so they can stay in comfort without compromising on style. So, come to Ndure for amazing pullover hoodies for girls.

  33. Brian said:

    If you are interested in your favorite actors’ net worth and detailed information, please take a look at celeb net worth database.

  34. alyssa lauren said:

    Accidentally i have come across this website and am a little bit confused about the engagement rings details you have shared here. This post shares the details of the headline writing style and which style is the best. I am expecting more from here and keep sharing more updates on that.

  35. Cobalt Dreir said:

    cobalt octoate are importers of cobalt octoate products devoted exclusively to advance materials in industrial bulk and laboratory/research quantities.

  36. Shop ECS said:

    ECS is offering best shoes for women online in Pakistan. Best Cost-effective shoes sale is ECS which have different
    collections with different varieties.

  37. Alexpeter said:

    The Career Coach is Europe’s top career coaching consultancy – and has helped more than 10,000 people land their dream jobs, all in less than 40 days.

  38. gclub said:

    Your premier articles are King99 team is going to go downhill at this time. But the future will definitely return to greatness

  39. gclub said:

    Thank you for giving a space to explain things. And gained a lot of King99 to offer great articles I like your country And really want to go shopping for life there

  40. HazelJames said:

    website development Ireland and Dublin that offers a complete digital solution in taking your business online. Our Award Winning Agency not only devises strategies for your brand, but we own it like our own.

  41. Flormar said:

    Discover a wide range of best Flormar lip balm in Pakistan online just at, and get the best prices. Get all famous skincare brands at your doorstep.

  42. Rivaj UK said:

    Rivaj offers the best cosmetics and related products like Maybelline concealer and similar Concealer products So, grab the best concealer today and enjoy. Their concealers are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best concealer in Pakistan to their customers every day.

  43. shay12 said:

    Advance Fitness by Bilal Brothers, established in 1979, is the leader in exercise, fitness, gymnasium and indoor sport equipment all over Pakistan. We work only with the world’s top brands and are proud to serve our customers with top-notch after sales service.

  44. carls12 said:

    java software architect will be seeing designs through from start to finish incorporating everything from technology to solution, assurance, governance, and security. You will need to be client facing and be able to make complex designs seem simple to customers.

  45. ash12 said:

    Affordable Flights by FlightsnTravel gives you the most amazing flight to travel all around the globe with your love one

  46. Mike Rooney said:

    Good step you have written of writing content relating to cooperate sense. Better yet good working skills and hope you write more of this soon.
    Tom Cruise Top Gun Jacket

  47. anny parker said:

    StudentVUE EGUSD Students may access their school records, tasks, grades, and other crucial info about their study via the EGUSD online student portal.

  48. dolly randava said:

    Chucky Doll – For every horror enthusiast, the Chucky doll is a must-have.

  49. BabyBoxShop said:

    A newborn shower gift is a loving gesture to celebrate the arrival of a newborn baby. These gifts can be gender-neutral and typically include items like baby onesies, diapers, pacifiers, baby blankets, and baby care products to assist parents in caring for their new bundle of joy.

  50. BSNS Consulting said:

    Achieve prominent online visibility with BSNS Consulting’s Best Search Engine Marketing strategies. Our team leverages the power of search engines to place your brand at the top of search results, ensuring maximum exposure and targeted leads. Partner with us to optimise your search engine marketing efforts and stay ahead in the competitive digital realm.

  51. Tiptop-einrichtung said:

    An Elektrische Kosmetikliege is an electric cosmetic bed or treatment table used in beauty salons and spas. The electric functionality allows for easy adjustment of the bed’s height and incline, making it suitable for various beauty and cosmetic procedures.

  52. We Buy Dead Stocks... said:

    Explore the bustling Sharjah scrap market, where opportunity meets sustainability. We Buy Dead Stocks is your gateway to this vibrant marketplace, offering top value for your surplus materials. As the largest dead stocks buyer in the UAE, we provide a seamless experience, ensuring your assets find new purpose.

  53. Bug Zapper said:

    Large outside spaces might be difficult to maintain bug-free, but outside Bug Zappers are made to especially address this problem. These zappers offer reliable protection against flying insects whether you’re having a backyard BBQ, camping out under the stars, or just lounging on the patio.

  54. Ramadan Rashan said:

    Ramadan Ration Hampers combines the practicality of ration packages with the delightful presentation of hampers. These hampers are carefully curated to include a thoughtful blend of staples and treats, ensuring that recipients not only receive necessary provisions but also experience the joy of receiving a well-rounded and considerate gift during Ramadan.

Leave a Reply