Advertising · Behavioural science · Copywriting · Storytelling · Tone of voice

I enjoyed this advert by Fractal

Just a quick post.

This Fractal advert on the back page of this week’s The Economist caught my attention. It has a lot going for it:

  • A catchy heading
  • An engaging story
  • An inclusive tone of voice
  • Evidence of results and benefits for the reader
  • An intriguing ending
  • It talks to its target audience using “you”.

It’s always nice to see a reminder of what good looks like in advertising. If you’re advertising something soon, is there anything you can learn from it?

Advertising · Branding · Copywriting · Socialmedia · Tone of voice

Carve in the FT

I’ve been working with global social agency, Carve, over the past few months – defining their tone of voice, writing for world-leading clients and helping communicate Carve’s new partnership with AIA Worldwide.

At the top of this post is the advert I wrote that went in the Financial Times.

Advertising · Behavioural science · Branding · Copywriting · Language · Naming

BMW or… Bayerische Motoren Werke?

The thing that’s most interesting about BMW’s latest ad is what lies beneath its logo… I’ve never seen BMW spell out its name like this before.

Of course, it makes sense to sound more German (so long as the company doesn’t create a rip-off of Audi’s “vorsprung durch technik” tagline). But why would the company spell out its name on this occasion and not others?

A luxury line of cars, perhaps?

I think BMW may be doing this to draw attention to a new luxury line of products. Similarly, think about the relationship between Calvin Klein and CK, Paul Smith and PS. When do these brands choose to use each one?

It’s not for every brand

It’s not for every brand, and some, such as Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (IKEA) don’t need to do this.

IKEA has worked hard in using its visual brand and language to keep its rich associations with Sweden, where it was founded.

But for BMW, if its objective is to rekindle an awareness of its German heritage to sell a high-end product.

Who knows, it may just werke!

Advertising · Branding · Copywriting · Risk

Causing a stir with your words. Is it worth the risk?

“No one cares what you’ve got to say,” said Dave Trott – the advertising guru who’s just as famous for his human truths and bold remarks as he is for his published books and award-winning copywriting. He was talking at an event I attended last night in London called Take Fucking Risks.

And the thing is, he’s exactly right.

No one cares what you’ve got to say. No one cares what your business or brand has got to say either. And it’s something so many people struggle with.

The average Londoner (okay, we’re not all Londoners but roll with this) sees 1000 ads a day. 4% are remembered positively, 7% negatively and 89% forgotten. How many adverts can you remember today?

Businesses spend £21bn a year on advertising. And the figures above mean that roughly £19bn (which is probably enough to buy you a Neymar) is going to waste.


So what’s the problem? Where does it all go wrong?

One of the reasons is that people don’t realise no one cares what you think. No one cares what you must say in your ad, in your report, on your website banner or in your email footer. All people care about is what’s in it for them.

So as creative people, our job is to make things as simple as possible. Trott said, “As creatives, our only job is to create demand [but the problem is] stupid people think complicated is clever”.

Again, completely right. It was Einstein who said, “If you can’t explain it to an 11 year old, you haven’t really understood it”.

This is a problem which Harvard scientist, psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker, calls “The curse of knowledge” – where people who are an expert on a certain topic try to over-explain it. They think people care about the detail and everything behind the scenes. When really, their audience couldn’t care less.

So what’s the solution?

Well, isn’t it obvious? It’s time for people, businesses and brands to take some risks with their marketing and advertising.

Your writing is something which should turn heads, make someone want to read it and create demand for your brand, product or service. We live in the age of content and your content will just blend in otherwise.

It’s time to trust your creative writer or creative team and try something disruptive.