Monday, September 20, 2021

The Economist

In 1984, when the small British newspaper, The Economist, convinced David Abbott to design their ads. He came up with a campaign featuring white letters on a plain red background. Each ad featured simple, clever copy that captured the essence of the product’s promise that reading The Economist will make you smarter, better informed, and more successful.

The first one:

"I never read The Economist." Management trainee. Aged 42.


Some of Abbott's other lines included.

It’s lonely at the top, but at least there’s something to read.

Money talks, but sometimes it needs an interpreter.

Want to go far? Sometimes a newsagent can be more helpful than a travel agent.

In real life, the tortoise loses.


Here are a few more from this successful (and long running) campaign to get you excited about searching for more of these gems:

If at  first you don't succeed, you're not a subscriber.

Would you like to sit next to you at dinner?

Where guesses become educated.

Enocomsit rdeeras avhe lradaye wrkode ti uot.

Don't make the same mistake once.

Pressure Peers.

Not all mind expanding substances are illegal.

Carpe annum.

Great minds like a think.

Enjoy your own company. 


Friday, September 17, 2021

What's it Gonna Be: Ballet or Face-Knife?

Every business has their own voice: style, tone, vocabulary, rhythm, sense of humor, etc. As a copy or content writer, one of your primary jobs is to consistently maintain that voice in all written materials.

One of my favorite ways to slam home the point that all businesses have their own voice comes from The CryptoNaturalist podcast:

Hummingbird: I shall sip nectar from this flower in a silent ballet.

Ballet or Face-Knife - writing with style & tone

Woodpecker: I'mma stab the bugs outa this tree with my face-knife!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Enough Already

One social media post I see far too often I've named The Good Deed Turnabout.

Squirrel - The Good Deed Turnabout

I'm sure the original version of this was not only inspiring, but also maybe true. All the posts that have sprung from it are neither.

Recognize it?

I was rushing to a interview for a job that could turn around my life. On the way, I spotted an unconscious squirrel on the sidewalk. I knew I'd be late for my appointment, but I stopped and performed CPR on the squirrel.

After the revived bushy-tailed rodent scampered off, I dashed to my interview only to be coldly informed that I was late ... but ... there's an ever so slight chance they could squeeze me in.

After an hour of pacing the reception area considering the option of not getting this job was going on welfare, I was ushered into the inner sanctum where behind the grand mahogany desk was the CEO ... imagine my surprise when I saw that the CEO was the squirrel who I risked my career to save.
Here are 5 more posts that can I can do without as described by the highly talented and respected copywriter Dave Harland:

1. Your morning routine. The earlier you say that you wake up, and the more things you say that you cram in before 9am, the more impressive you will appear. List everything out, including meditation, exercise and formulating daily plans to obliterate your competitors etc.

2. Your charity work. Spreading the word about all of your good deeds helps charities avoid wasting money on advertising. You could discuss your regular donations, a sponsored run/skydive/silence/heist you're doing, or how you spend one day a week at the local orphanage (even if you don't - nobody ever checks lol). Mention that you don't really like to talk about it, so you come across as really humble.

3. A photo of your car, your house or your watch. Accompany this with a heartfelt story about how you've worked hard for this prized possession and why you really deserve it. If any haters call you a narcissist, tell them you can help them 10X their earnings by being 20X less jealous. Then block them. They'll never understand.

4. A poll. Any poll. It could be about politics, sport, whether swearing has a place on Linkedin, or the different names for a bread roll in different parts of the UK. This shows that you're extremely interested in what your audience thinks, even when the content of the question and your rationale for seeking the answer is totally absurd.

5. Stuff you're proud of. Potential clients love nothing more than seeing you shout about that contract you landed, that award you won or that person you gave a job to despite them having zero experience in the thing you hired them for. Top tip: Put "Agree?" right at the end, even when you've not really put anything worth agreeing about.

For more of Dave's unique view on the copywriter's world, get his Friday email: The Word  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Power of the Unexpected

The unexpected can capture attention and arouse curiosity.

Here is one of my favorite recent examples:

It got me thinking of how well the embodiment of slow (turtle) has been presented in a surprising manner (fast) to capture your attention, your curiosity, and your imagination.

Like Gary the Turtle, spokesreptile for Homebase:

This animated turtle (for HCG Diet Universe) certainly grabs you by the eyeballs:

Of course, turtles don't have to be fast to grab our attention, like Sheldon, the grumpy turtle who doesn't approve of the "new" pistachio product/campaign:

Geico has gone there, too:

Comcast used the Slowskys to highlight their fast internet speed with the unexpected twist of presenting a couple who prefers slow speed internet:

Aardman and Greenpeace dropped the comedy aspect when they teamed up to personify turtles in an animated film about the plight of the world’s oceans.

Sorta strayed off theme and focused on turtles, but it doesn't change the primary message: 

Wanna get attention for your product/service? Consider employing the power of the unexpected.

The Parking Spot Next to the Front Door

“You could sell sawdust to a lumber mill,” said my boss as he threw his arm around Byron’s shoulders. The team applauded as Byron held up th...