Alright it’s from Poundland and you get what you pay for, but if you consider that there are over 400 Poundlands around and dozens of these products on display in any given store then isn’t it worth someone, somewhere, looking at its single line of advertising copy and considering whether or not those 6 little words make sense?
There’s a lot of pressure for copywriters to be creative, and for advertising in general to be original. In my experience there’s a gap between writing creatively and writing effectively, hence I’ve got two websites. But a little section on Ogilvy on Advertising got me thinking about this in more detail, and I want to discuss the differences between copywriting and creative writing. Continue reading →
Beer – it’s lovely! Imagine seeing a sign with that slogan and nothing more. Well, you don’t need to imagine it, I’ve got the image right there. I was doing research for a TV pilot, trawling through images of 1970s Leyton, when I stumbled across this and had to wonder what it was about. It captures your attention and encourages you to action, but where did it come from? There is no brand involved, after all. I don’t imagine this slogan is news to most people, with a few Beer – it’s Lovely! ads doing the internet rounds already, but there wasn’t much info as to where these ads had come from. So I did some digging, and wrote a brief history of this simple but effective advertising campaign: Continue reading →
Looking for a new (and exciting!) way to get a message across? An effective infographic is sure to turn the heads of burly men and make young ladies swoon. Combining useful (often dubious) facts and figures with cute graphics, infographics capture attention and make the mundane seem magical – something that’s more difficult with plain blocks of copywriting text. They’re also excellent for sharing, because all their instantly gratifying joy is condensed into one easily reproduced file. The examples below are my pick of the best copywriting infographics that give you excellent copywriting tips whilst serving as a demonstration of how effective a medium it is. Continue reading →
Bleary-eyed and bedraggled from an uneasy night’s sleep, you drag yourself to your computer in the dark, muttering curses under your breath that the fluorescent glare of the screen is no substitute for the as yet absent sun. With one hand tightly clawed around your coffee for warmth, you start the working day by numbly thumbing through your emails. Half a dozen companies have tried to pitch a sale to you whilst you weren’t looking. The subject lines are usually enough to disband them. 3000 points at 32red Bingo. Book your seat today. Huge deals, huge savings! Impersonal nonsense about things you wish to know nothing about. Dear customer, dear sir/madam, dear person-we-don’t-know-or-care-about. Direct email marketing is seldom inspiring.
You idly delete these messages, tightening your angry grip on the coffee. But sometimes you need to click your emails, mark them read for neatness’ sake, and you happen to open one and see your name. A funny little intro that makes you smile. You read on, and the personal and friendly nature of the copy gives you a little warm feeling. You pay attention, you genuinely consider the offer in the email, and you even scurry onto Facebook to post what you just found in your inbox, giddy with amusement. What makes this one special? Continue reading →
Let’s analyse some of the advertising copy we encounter in the world around us. I’ve trudged through the Guardian Weekend supplement and extracted a few copywriting samples from lifestyle ads. Some good, some bad. All capable of teaching you a thing or two about advertising copy. (For more examples and of everyday copy, please see the other entries in my copywriting examples archive.) Continue reading →
What is hyperbole? It’s when you tell someone that the product they’re about to experience will change their lives forever. The chances are they won’t believe you. When you further explain that it’ll open their consciousness to dream-filled fields where the only clouds in the sky are those that rain joy and success, they’re likely to snigger or scowl. When you wave your hands at them insisting that no, wait, it’ll crawl inside their brain like a vivacious squirrel burrowing nuts of happiness into their central nervous system, they back slowly out of the room. The simple explanation is that hyperbole is overly dramatic language. It’s not necessarily convincing, but it certainly has its uses.
During a recent English lesson, my student read from a Time Out article written in the present tense. This confused him: as a learner of English as a second language he was taught that the present tense is used for general or repeated actions, or states. Why would anyone write a report in the present tense, as the events had already happened? I explained that writing in the present tense is a common device in journalism, especially with interviews (as this was), to bring about a sense of immediacy and familiarity. As a literary device, this isn’t easy (or generally necessary) to teach, but in the present tense is more useful than just labelling habits and states. Here’s a short list of potential uses of writing in the present tense in copywriting: