It’s easy to make light of examples of bad copywriting and bad adverts, as they stand out. A copywriting job done well doesn’t necessarily cause a stir, so the copywriting blogger is less likely to post examples of good advertising – but this is one that caught my eye recently. It’s a no-thrills ad for holidays on a working boat, Patricia, and it works because it understands the audience and addresses them appropriately. It might not look like much, but there’s a lot going on here. Here’s a quick break down:
1. A headline with instant appeal
A Unique Experience. This sums up the target customer in one fine point – combined with the image of the boat there’s no mistaking who this is aimed at. People go on cruises for luxury, for convenience, for the opportunity to see a lot of places with the minimal effort, and more. This is for the holiday-goer who wants a cruise that offers something different. Maybe they still want all those things, but most of all they want it to be special. And looking at that picture you can immediately tell this is a unique cruise, and you understand the kind of special it is. Because that’s like no cruise ship you’ve seen before.
2. Succinct and direct copy
There’s a lot being said in the short copy that follows – Patricia performs obscure work at obscure locations. The cruise gives you the opportunity to see how and where it works, as well as the chance to live alongside the workers. The brief list of examples, refuelling of lighthouses and marking wrecks, is different enough to give a powerful image of how unique this experience is. There’s no need for fancy exposition, explaining to the reader what this means – if you’re the sort of person that thinks refuelling lighthouses and marking wrecks could make your holiday interesting, no one needs to tell you why. And the advert is clearly not about trying to persuade people that it is interesting.
3. An exclusive experience
The real clincher is the affirmation that there are only six cabins and few guests get to have this experience. The point here is that this is not for everyone – the advertisers know this. They don’t create the appearance of trying to persuade you it’s worth doing – they instead create the appearance that you’d be lucky to be involved, part of a select few people. That on its own is persuasion that it’s desirable.
But more so than that, it appeals to the audience out for a unique experience because it’s the sort of unique that won’t be sullied by countless others doing it. After all, being able to tell others about your adventures is one of the appealing factors of unique experiences, so an assurance that it’s exclusive makes it more worthwhile.
4. Reassurances about the peripheries
The various other possibilities that appeal to a cruise-ship customer are also considered, as the body copy immediately reassures that this is a luxury cruise. It doesn’t ram it down your throat, just throws it in with one word, and that’s all it needs. The target audience may care about the degree of comfort, but that’s not the selling point, it’s just offered as a given.
I fully expect this isn’t the sort of cruise that will appeal to a wide audience, but that’s why it’s an example of an effective advert, and it’s why the brief copy is effective. It embraces a niche and works well because of it – it doesn’t rely on fancy tricks, just the simple process of understanding what the customer is after, explained in the simplest, briefest terms. And that is good copywriting.