Ask a copywriter to share advice they were given when they started out and most will have a pithy line or acronym at hand. From the well-trodden KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to the hard-hitting SLAP (Stop, Look, Act, Purchase), the writing world is full of formulaic free advice.
But for creative wisdom with nuts and bolts already attached, look no further than the four lines uttered by the great Leo Burnett, “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
Brands featured in this month’s SEEN certainly took Leo’s words on board for some copy-led campaigns that cut through the noise. However (and this is where it gets interesting), even the best ads divide opinion. So we asked two of our copywriters, Matt and Aisling, to share their thoughts.
SPOTIFY - LISTEN LIKE YOU USED TO
In 2016, Spotify rolled out a hugely successful data-driven campaign, highlighting the weird and wonderful listening habits of its users. Fast forward to 2019, and Spotify’s “Listen Like You Used To” tops the charts (sorry, not sorry) once again. The campaign aims to tap into music nostalgia with a reminder that although people’s lives may have changed, their taste in music hasn’t.
Aimed squarely at teens of the 80s and 90s, the campaign is a playful paradox that spotlights the way today’s ‘middle-aged’ crowd enjoyed growing up versus the realities of modern-day life.
But how did it go down with Matt? Well, he said, “Despite the hype, something about this didn’t quite land for me. The writing works hard to contrast modern culture with the 80s and 90s, but doesn’t it make you cringe a bit? I prefer Spotify’s old stuff.”
Aisling was a little more positive. “I love the playful use of copy in this campaign. The clever twists on song titles and how people lived then versus how they live now are fun and insightful (and for the most part, executed brilliantly). It taps into real human truths and makes people smile.”
ITCH - UNWANTED SCRATCHING
Pets are well and truly benefitting from the wellness trend these days.
Born from the tech entrepreneurs who brought Simba to market, itchpet.com is a new brand coming to market with a flea medicine subscription service and a promise of a "unique model that cuts out the middle man to keep quality high prices low”.
For some creatives, that might be a challenging proposition to get excited by, but the results are actually pretty effective. A campaign delivered with a cool vibe and smile-inducing copy; what’s not to love?
Well, let’s see what the word nerds say…
Aisling: “I love the art direction of this campaign, but I think the copy doesn’t quite live up to it. People are obsessed with their pets and the lengths they’ll go to for them border on ridiculous at times. I’m sure they could’ve tapped into some more interesting insights, rather than resorting to puns.”
Matt: “It may not be ground-breaking, but I admire the whole-hearted commitment to pet puns. The playful language works well with the art direction too.”
According to stats released by Mintel, the UK pet care market is set to reach €2.3 billion by 2023, and the UK’s flea market is estimated to be worth €415 million by 2021.
In such a dog-eat-dog world (again, not sorry) an innovate approach is key to staying relevant. ITCH is leading by example, showing that pet wellness brands can be, at the very least, not boring.
DTF - OK Cupid
OK, this is on oldie, but it’s also an absolute goldie when it comes to fusing data with language to catapult a brand to global fame.
Founded in 2004, online dating site OkCupid had (pre 2018) long refrained from advertising until brands like Tinder came along and their aggressive marketing became hard to ignore.
This campaign took the amorous acronym, DTF (“Down To F*ck”, in case you didn’t know) and reimagined the ‘F’ to represent multiple enlightened alternatives, like “Down To Feel Fabulous”, “Down To Forget our Baggage”, or “Down to Fight About the President”.
Taking influence from current events in America at the time, including politics, climate change and the #MeToo movement, this campaign helped the brand increase fame by 50%.
And our copywriters agree (at last!) that this particular language-loaded campaign was a real humdinger.
Matt: “Great, memorable campaign - you can tell they had fun writing this. A pretty simple idea but the execution is perfect.
Aisling: “They’ve taken a well-known phrase and flipped its meaning on its head. Simple and brilliant.”
So there you go. These campaigns prove there’s power in a simple recipe. Take an excellent strategy, simple aesthetic and some crafted culture-led copy and voila! A noise-cutting campaign is born.
But one thing is for certain: you can’t please all of the copywriters all of the time.
SEEN. has been compiled by LOVE's Copy team - Gary, Aisling & Matt as well as our PR & Marketing Manager, Emily. Want to say hello, ask questions or question their cultural knowledge? Throw an email over to email@example.com. Or you can find LOVE in all the usual places: