“There is no force in the universe as strong as the urge to correct someone else's copy” - Mark Twain (anecdotal)
This page is for real “adheads” like myself who like to delve into the minutiae of what makes ads work. The ads below that I have chosen as examples to rework are simply normal, “ho hum” ads. Most people would agree that the majority of ads, regardless of whether they are print, TV, outdoor or using other media, are eye-catching at best and downright obnoxious a lot of the time (at least to me!). Do these things really work? Well, as a Creative Advertising Consultant part of my job is to figure the answer to that question out. I promise my clients to help them produce "perfect ads" and I have a methodology around how I go about deconstructing ads and changing things that are not effective. It's kind of like a mix of sales, marketing and literature!
The starting point for advertising according to Sales and Marketing for “You” is that your ad should be “you”-centric, or customer focused (only in cases where a brand is a household name and attracts interest should the ad be “we”-centric, or company focused). Beyond this simple rule are key elements like originality, creativity and whether or not the ad produces an instantaneous emotional reaction. As well as striving to create a “remarkable” ad, you should also try and appeal to customer values instead of features and benefits. Does your ad have a personality that will appeal to your target audience? Finally, considerations around the use of words, style and sentence structure are also tied into creating a perfect ad.
Now you can expect the same
(...kind of ad as always!)
Critique: This is a typical ad overall with very little to differentiate the brand, notwithstanding the new services and features mentioned. One of the main problems, in fact, is that there is too much information and too little imagination. The picture of the smiling courier is unoriginal and perhaps the best thing about the ad is the tagline. Even here, however, I would have preferred “Expect more” with “Get more” as an option afterwards. The problem with the way it is now is that the brand is attaching too much importance to itself. “Now you can expect more” assumes that couriering packages is a major preoccupation in people's lives. Simply removing the “Now” generalizes the statement in that customers should expect more in everything and that includes couriers.
New Concept: How about something different instead of a picture of a smiling courier? One idea is simply a picture of a DHL van with the tagline, “Why am I always on time?” Alternatively, a picture of a ubiquitous DHL envelope could be accompanied by the tagline, “A lot goes into getting me to you on time every time”. I think it is a great idea to build on DHL's key differentiator of “On time. Wherever.” [sic] with the new differentiating idea that DHL has more, does more and offers more. The original ad does not clarify exactly what “DHL Smart & Global Mail” is and the introduction above the tagline should be omitted. I will proceed with new copy on the assumption that the client wants us to mention this as well as the new features.
New Copy: We could bore you with the latest and greatest services and innovations we have come up with to meet your changing mail needs. Or brag about our state-of-the-art technology and unsurpassed fleet of vehicles and logistical centres worldwide. Perhaps you really do want to hear about what our corporate folks like to call “integrated mailing solutions”. Maybe you want details about how SmartMail and QuikPak now power our domestic mail services and Deutsche Post Global Mail our global capabilities. Maybe, maybe not. You are interested in one thing for sure though, the thing that we have been the best at for over four decades. You want to make sure that your next package will be on time, just like the last one was. Well, it will be and still as cost effective as before. If you are interested in some of the other stuff visit DHL Smart and Global Mail online at www.dhlglobalmail.com or call 1-866-616-MAIL.
New Concept 2: What would be great is taking the industry standard “smiling courier” depiction and do something original with it. How about showing a smiling courier jumping off a (DHL!) plane grasping a DHL box with the tagline “We will do anything to get it to you on time”. Another variation would be the courier with package – and a pistol? - pressed against the side of a building looking round the corner at some bad guys who are apparently searching him out. A similar idea is showing a DHL van jumping through the air from one side of a drawbridge to the other as the bridge opens. Once again, we will build the “more stuff” positioning on top of the standard “on time” idea.
New Copy 2: Your package is not just a package. It represents our pledge to you that we undertake to deliver it on time to any corner of the globe. It is a 40-year tradition, a matter of honour and a sacred trust. You can sign, forget and go back to work, while we venture out into the world ready to face any danger and overcome any obstacle that stands between us and another on-time delivery. Neither rain, sleet, snow nor a hail of bullets will stop us from fulfilling our mission. Of course, it helps to have state-of-the-art technology and an unsurpassed fleet of vehicles and logistical centres worldwide. Not to mention a mail system powered by SmartMail, QuikPak and Deutsche Post Global Mail. Did we mention more customized services and a host of new integrated mailing solutions? Those are just to make things easier and more cost-effective for you. As for us, we brave the unknown and unforeseen to make sure that you don't have to worry about it. Until next time, the adventure continues. Visit DHL Smart and Global Mail online at www.dhlglobalmail.com or call 1-866-616-MAIL.
Standard celebrity fare
Critique: I like David Beckham as well, but how about showing him in a sports vest instead of a “wife-beater” if we are intent on showing off his tattoos?
As for the copy itself, it is not very well written and hardly inspired. Statements like “His charisma is known the world over” and “With an unsurpassed level of resilience...” almost sound like bad English. The copy also sounds fawning and lacks personality. As well, it does little to actually connect Beckham with the Rolex brand. The slogan “Rolex. Live for Greatness” does this but I would move it to a standalone point in the corner and have “Rolex” in its definitive brand font. As it is right now, it looks like the slogan was simply made up for this specific ad; if that is the case, I would simply remove “Rolex” and leave the rest of it as is.
New Concept 1: How cool would it be to show Beckham in a suave business suit wearing a Rolex juxtaposed with the footballer that everyone is familiar with? Or how about showing another side of him that people are not familiar with such as him squatting and playing with a little boy? The great thing with this approach is that you would show a new side of Beckham and the positive emotions this will create in viewers will automatically be associated with the brand. Taking this further, how about a number of shots of him showcasing different aspects of his life and connecting all of them with the Rolex brand? The subliminal message is that Beckham is a versatile man of many talents and many faces but one things that is a constant is that he loves – and hopefully wears! - a Rolex.
New Copy 1a: Football. Family. Business. Travel. Gardening. Cooking. Nature. Art. Academia. Rolex.
New Copy 1: Footballer par excellence. Doting husband. Favourite uncle. Seasoned gardner. Chef-in-waiting. Avid naturalist. Avant garde artist. Reluctant scholar. Rolex lover.
Going with a similar approach to the copy we have, how about starting with a number of descriptive phrases that apply to both Beckham and Rolex and then ending with a statement that ties them both together?
New Copy 1c: Worldwide appeal. Legendary charm. Unsurpassed resilience. Uncompromising class. Unrelenting excellence. Champions demand the best of themselves and everything else.
New Concept 2: A great positioning strategy is to differentiate these ads and the brand by showing that the celebrities showcased actually do wear and care about Rolex watches. Instead of just “David Beckham” what if we start the ad with, “Why does David Beckham choose Rolex?” The copy would then answer this question based on real life feedback from the star while creating a feeling of intimacy with him. This is a nice point to celebrate the celebrity before answering the actual question.
New Copy 2: Were there any footballer celebrities before him? Certainly none as handsome. Is it that he demands the best of himself and for himself in everything? Maybe it's because he is fanatical about resilience and precision. Or that he does not want to wear anything that takes away from his class and personal charm. Could it be that because he likes dancing and it goes well with tuxedos as well as T-shirts? It turns out it is because a Rolex is one thing more reliable than he is.
Let's. Sell. To. MOMs!
Critique: Maybe it's because it is a small ad, but half of the copy is fine print that would be better suited at the bottom and out of the way. The tagline “Now, fashion and function play nice” could simply have been, “Fashion and function” or “Fashion and features”. The line sticks and does not compute because it makes it sound like being fashionable usually means being featureless which is not at all true.
My main criticism of this ad, however, is that it should shout out that this is a phone for moms and not only that, a cool phone! The tagline should be mom-centric and the copy can do a better job of positioning the phone as somewhat of a revolution and something that every mom needs and deserves. Currently, the word “mom” appears on line three of the copy; therefore, a mom has to be drawn in by the tagline and make it all the way to the end of the copy before understanding that this is a phone designed specifically with her in mind. Space restrictions notwithstanding, it would be great to concept some visuals that would convey this message strikingly as well.
New Taglines: Going with the picture we have, how about “Who says mom's can't be hot?” (or “stylin'” / “trendy” / “cutting edge”). How is, “Calling all moms”? Or, “Moms, life just got simpler (and more stylish)”
New Concept: Everyone knows that mom's are probably the busiest people on the planet with the most responsibilities. Also, moms are often last when it comes to “cool” and “new” and getting the best stuff. They usually have to make do with what is left over after everyone else is taken care of. Why not recognize mom's for the superwomen they are and position the phone as being not only cool but something that will help them simplify their lives? The two visual representations I can think of are a mom flying through the air like Superwoman (maybe with a little kid in tow!) with the tagline, “Superphones for Supermums”? Or, we can have a picture of a mom taking care of 5 things at once like a shouting kid, cooking on the stove, a husband asking something, a baby in their chair throwing food everywhere; basically, a super-stressed out mom doing everything at once with the tagline, “There's help”, “Help's here” or “Need help?” Finally, an extreme dramatization of this theme might be a picture of a mom screaming as her kid pulls her hair...
New Copy: Being a mom isn't easy and it's only getting harder as the world gets busier. Do you have more to dos than you can do? In between picking up and dropping off the kids, running errands, cooking, cleaning and taking care of everything and everyone else, is it a wonder you haven't had your hair done since... well, you get the point. The last thing you need is one more thing to worry about but what about something that actually helps out? The new BlackBerry Curve is not only a beautiful new accessory but eminently functional. With contacts, calendar, notes, Web access, GPS Navigation and much more, you can now stay organized in style. You do it all, so who says you can't have it all?
New Copy 2: The great thing about being a mom is that everyone loves you. The downside is that everyone needs you. Is there a mess? Mom will fix it! Guests coming round? Mom's on it! You need a clean suit for tomorrow's presentation? Not to worry, mom will take care of it. Finally, here is something that works for you and not the other way around. Managing your busy schedule and taking care of everything you have to has never been easier. The new BlackBerry Curve is not only beautiful but eminently functional and a perfect helpmate. With contacts, calendar, notes, Web access, GPS Navigation and much more, you can now stay organized in style. You deserve the best too, don't you?
Strong brand, weak ad
Critique: This ad just doesn't grab you, visually or otherwise. A disco ball? That is so 70s! The tagline is extremely lacklustre and reminiscent of other similar taglines (e.g. Burger King's, “Your burger, your way”!). Also, it does not specify customization. The copy begins “Here at Oakley” and talks about “our High Definition Optics” and “our Oakley Custom website” but insists that everything “we” do is actually with “you” in mind. To me it sounds fake and like thousands of other brands that talk about being all about the customer but in a way that sounds sterile and made up.
My take on the whole thing is that Oakley is an awesome brand, well-known and well respected by its customers and others and does not need to be reinvented in a customer-centric way. In fact, this may be one of those cases where pandering too much to the customer might be seen as a weakness. What I mean is that Oakley is cool and has “pull” and therefore does not need to make extraneous efforts as a brand in order to win customers.
New Concept: I think all that is needed is to announce – with personality! - that you can now get custom Oakleys. I think this is a very cool concept that can stand alone in powering the ad and will be news to most people. Visually, you can do something as simple as showing all the parts of a pair of glasses laid out as if on a drawing table. Or, perhaps a computerized visualization showing a flowchart or blueprint of a pair of glasses being manufactured.
New Taglines: Why not simply “Custom Oakleys”? A statement and an announcement that is meaningful enough to stand alone. The fact that you say nothing else and do not try to “sell” the concept lends it more weight. How about “Custom cool”? I'm not against copying the Burger King tagline if you do it properly, either: “Oakleys your way” as a sort of nod to the BK tagline. If we have space we might go with, “The only thing cooler than a pair of Oakleys is a pair of custom Oakleys”
New Copy: You're an individual, we get it. We think we're pretty unique too. We know you want to express yourself with your glasses. That they need to reflect who you are and not just the light. So now you can customize your new High Definition Optics on the Oakley Custom website. That's right, you don't have to come in and stand in line. Just go online and let your personality and imagination do the rest. You're grinning. We knew you'd be chuffed.
New Concept 2: You could have a campaign featuring a bunch of ugly people that would hammer the customization point home in a hilarious way. Simply, each ad has a close up of a really ugly face with the tagline, “This guy will never have the same Oakleys as you”.
Aren't we great??
Critique: Car ads are my least favourite (apart from brands like Volkswagen who make the effort to hire intelligent advertisers. I suppose they needed to in order to get away from the stigma of being Hitler's “People's Car”). The reason is that they talk about themselves on and on and on. This award, that feature and endless shots of them zooming down the road or through deserts or up mountains or whatever. Did the folks that came up with this ad ask what winning this award does to a viewer's perception of the brand? I don't know about you but for me it does not do anything. You see, Subaru is an established brand and everyone knows they build high quality, high performance vehicles (they even have some great ads, just not this one!). The award is a great thing to mention but it does not need to be front and centre; that would be something more suited to a weaker or lesser known brand. With established brands there is no need to talk about features either unless you have come up with something revolutionary. Most car buyers are not that worried about RPMs and the like and can read the brochure for details.
The copy is self-coddling and what I call “we”-centric to the extreme. We won this award, yay! Aren't we great? People love us! I wonder if there is absolutely anyone out there who would read this stuff and think, “Hmm, maybe I should get a Subaru...” The copy boasts, “It's nice to be loved” - <gag> - and then the tagline goes onto to say, “Love. It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.” While it is refreshing to see the word “love” used in an ad – and a tagline, even! - I am confused by what is meant here. No matter how much I think about it, I cannot seem to make sense of it. Is it the car-makers who are doing the loving or the general public (including auto enthusiasts like Motor Trend)? Does it mean that love goes into designing and making the car or that owners love the car? If the latter, this is not clear as the ad simply fails to mention that one person you cannot do with who is the customer. I would change this to “A Subaru is a Subaru.” I omit “Only” at the beginning of this tagline because while tempting, it makes it sound like other taglines. Here, we are simply making a definitive statement which may look like it says nothing at first glance but actually says everything. It's like you are implying that there are no other words to describe it. Also, I believe that what the advertisers are trying to do with the original tagline is make “Subaru” more of a spoken brand inasmuch as most people recognize it but do not talk about or mention it as much (how do I know this? Just think about it!).
New Concept 1: What does putting the award front and centre mean for the brand's positioning? To me it is simply saying, “this is a well-built, high performance car”. So what? As I mentioned, I think that of Subarus anyway without the award. Besides, there are so many car ads with so many awards that the whole award thing loses its value. How about simply positioning the car as being fun? One car ad is the same as another when you compare features but saying that you will enjoy yourself silly in a Subaru is a more powerful concept because it ties into reader lifestyles and values. We can simply put the award up in the corner of the ad. Going with the original photo...
New Taglines 1: “The only problem is you won't want to go home”; “Tell your boss you may need those extra days after all”; “See new places a new way”
New Copy 1: We were tempted to brag about how we are the only winner of Motor Trend's Sport / Utility of the year award two years in a row. Or talk about the extra space and all the new features packed into the new Subaru Outback. That's not what makes a Subaru a Subaru though. It's those endless nights by the campfire and losing your phone signal in the middle of the wilderness. It's being able to fit the kids, their friends, their equipment and even the groceries in after practice. It's knowing that you are safe and that substance can go with style. Subaru owners know. A Subaru is a Subaru.
New Concept 2: I'd like to see a rundown Crocodile Dundee type fellow lounging on the hood of an Outback or perhaps even lying on the roof like Snoopy the Dog. The tagline would simply read, “Ask Motor Trend or ask this guy”. The ad should be obviously funny and the way to do this is to show a guy who is a little over-the-top in how he is dressed and looks like an outback bum or something. Basically, we are saying that you can go from one end of the spectrum to the other, from the super-legit Motor Trend to this suspect character in order to size up the new Subaru Outback. Building on the whole Crocodile Dundee image we can even come up with a similar name for our anti-hero...
New Copy 2: We are proud to announce that Motor Trend has chosen the Subaru Outback as Sport / Utility of the year again. If that doesn't impress you, how about the fact that we are the only SUV to receive this honour twice in a row? Still not impressed? Well, what if we told you that Alligator Alex also gives us his Two Wombat seal of approval (not shown)? What's that? You already know it's a well-engineered, high performance vehicle. Okay. You're only interested in having a great time outdoors and a car that is reliable and yet comfortable when you're out there. Great! Do you like stylish? A Subaru is a Subaru.
Let's grow this idea
Critique: The average person has probably seen in the range of 20 to 50,000 soap or shampoo or hair or skin product ads featuring smiling people using the product. Okay, I made that number up but I would be surprised if I am not in the correct ballpark. The prevalence of these kinds of ads is the best reason not to make a similar ad. The leafs are good and offset the similarity factory but only slightly. The same goes for the fact that the people in this ad are using an elegant basin instead of a sink.
The tagline is not bad and the only thing I might insist on changing is the word “Because” which smacks of other ads; “We care about your hands just as much as you do” is just great. We might even go a step further by simply saying “Care about your hands”. There are a number of great things about this last tagline in my mind. Being as concise as humanly possible is generally a good thing in the world of taglines. Nevertheless, this tagline still conveys everything that the original one does:
1) The instruction “Care about your hands” means by default that we care about your hands
2) There is a motherly touch that can be read into the tagline, especially if we associate the ad with kids
3) “Care about your hands” is advice that most target readers will automatically accept. As such, they
will also accept the inference that the way to care for your hands is by using SensiFree
New Concept 1: We've all seen plenty of ads of moms washing and caring for babies but what about the other way around? How great would a picture of a kid holding a bottle of SensiFree and squeezing some into his or her mom's outstretched palms look? The double whammy is that we are highlighting that the product is kid friendly and also that it is for kids and moms
New Concept 2: I love leaves and they are a great symbol of the natural and sensitive points of differentiation for this product. How about a picture of a mom and kid squeezing leaves out of a bottle or at one another? What about a kid playing in leaves or washing with leaves?
New Concept 3: I love babies too! How about a picture of a baby laughing, holding a bottle of SensiFree with a tagline like, “They love it”? Another ad concept is a picture of a bunch of toddlers playing on the floor with a bottle of SensiFree and the line, “Not a recommended toy but you can wash them with it afterwards”. The focus on babies along with the product name will impart that it is a product suitable for kids and people with sensitive skin. How about a picture of a baby grimacing with the tagline, “Kids are sensitive”? You might be tempted to add something like “Is your soap?” or “So are we” but you don't really have to as the statement “Kids are sensitive” by itself will imply that this is what we are all about. For each of these baby concepts with taglines we would include a picture of the bottle and the original product tagline as well which also appears on the bottle.
New Copy: You can't keep dirt and germs off but you can get them off. Moisturizing and nourishing your skin at the same time. With a natural, revitalizing soap that is hypoallergenic and formulated for sensitive skin. Which means that SensiFree will leave you and your special ones looking, feeling and smelling tingly clean using one of the safest products available. We make sure that only what is the very best for your skin goes into each bottle. Because we care about your hands as much as you do.
New Copy 2: Kids get everywhere. Hands go everywhere. Germs are everywhere. What are you going to do? Now that you know that SensiFree is hypoallergenic and formulated for sensitive skin you can trust that you are taking care of your hands in the very best way. Natural, revitalizing soap will leave you and your special ones looking, feeling and smelling tingly clean using the safest ingredients available. Your hands do so much. It's up to you to reward them to the same degree. Care about your hands. Use SensiFree.
Forget green, let's talk BioEnergy!
Critique: At first glance this seems like a great tagline but the truth is that it does not resonate as being original. If you think about it you will probably remember similar branding in the past, statements such as, “We were green even before there was a green!” I would have preferred something more original such as, “Greener than 'green'” which says the same thing. How about, “You can't get greener” (referring both to the leaf and the product)? The real failing with all of this greenery, however, is that the brand should actually be positioning itself around being “bioenergetic” which is a far more unique and interesting proposition (you can, of course, mention being green in passing!). From the Anakiri website we learn that the concept of being bioenergetic refers primarily to humans who have a biological as well as an energetic side. It is the same as the concept of “Chi” and other Eastern methodologies that talk about how energy flows through our bodies and that, essentially, that is what we are.
New Concept: Many cosmetic ads feature a picture of a made up face and we can use the same concept here. The difference is that the face would be tingling electricity like one of those electric globes you can buy that radiate lines of electricity from their centre like mini lightning bolts. How about a woman reaching out and touching someone else with the tips of her fingers and transferring energy to them this way? Or, less original, a woman holding a lightbulb that is turned on? The point is to draw attention by advertising a woman's internal energy manifested in the picture.
New Taglines: “Biology. Energy.”; “BioEnergetic”; “You are BioEnergetic.”
New Copy: You are not just body but soul. You are not just physical but spiritual. You are not just matter but mind. Thought. Emotion. Chi. Energy. Anakiri has herbs, botanicals, organic oils and powerful antioxidants to nourish and condition your biological side. It has flower essences, homeopathics, aromatherapy and minerals for your energetic side. That's why we call it bioenergetic. Just like you are. Not to mention greener than “green” with the most natural ingredients you will find in a bottle. Anakiri is about taking care of you. All of you.
Features don't sell Pt. II
Critique: Ducati used to have some good ads and doesn't always rely on scantily-clad women and, in this case, an exhaustive list of features in order to win hearts and minds. Here, we basically throw everything we can think of at the reader and hope that some of it sticks. Some of it is a bit vague, such as “the press” saying that this is the best Twin ever built or the line, “second-to-none performance” and “pumping out 140 HP more than ever before” (on a Ducati or in general?). Nevertheless, most of the features here seem pretty impressive, not that I am a motorcycle guy. What the ad fails to do, however, is define a single point which is them hammered home. The rest of the features can then be ancillary to the main point, kind of like dressing. The problem with this kind of features blast is that a) it seems unfocused and desperate, b) it does not resonate emotionally and c) it risks losing a reader who is being deluged with so many facts that no single fact is that important or retains their attention.
“Nothing performs like a Ducati” is terribly cliched. “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” (John Deere) is just one of many similar brand slogans.
The tagline “Ducati 999: the best Twin ever built” is making an announcement that looks like it is bragging. If it is not bragging then why is the statement “the best Twin ever built” not in quotes? Without them, it seems like a statement the brand is making itself. It turns out it is a generic statement attributed to “the press”. Having a quotable statement would have been far more effective but even then it turns the ad into what it presently is which is a feature-based ad. Instead, can we focus on something specific that connects the ad to readers and their lifestyles and values?
Concept 1: The thing that grabbed my attention more than anything as I waded through the feature-filled copy is that this is basically a racing bike. It talks about “second-to-none performance on tracks around the world” and that is definitely something I would elaborate on. As well, it was designed with racing in mind and built with racing parts. I'm sure that many motorcycle drivers like to imagine that they are racing and quality conscious buyers will connect with the fact that a racing bike means that only the very best high performance parts and engineering went into manufacturing this bike. Therefore we key into lifestyle (racing) and values (quality). Going with the original photo...
New Taglines 1: “They almost didn't let us give it to the general public.” “Built to race.” (Priced to own.?) “Are you sure you can handle it?”
New Copy 1: We'll be honest. We didn't build the new Ducati 999 to get to work and back. According to the press, it's the best Twin ever built and that's because it was built with one thing in mind: to race. We've proven it's unsurpassed performance time and time again on tracks around the world. Every part, detail and design specification was focused on building a stronger, lighter, faster and more powerful motorcycle. That means a Testastretta engine that produces a full 140 more HP. Fully adjustable suspension system. TiN treated, upside down 43mm Showa forks and Showa rear shocks for ultimate handling. State of the art aluminium alloy rear swing arm. It might be too much if you are just planning to drive around town. You might want to go with something else. On the other hand, if you are going to get out there and ride then nothing rides like a Ducati.
Concept 2: How about a picture of a guy in a tuxedo doing a wheelie down a busy promenade with a woman in a wedding dress clutching a bunch of flowers and laughing hysterically sitting behind him and hanging on to him? Or, a picture showing a police helicopter with a searchlight trained on a guy on a motorbike crossing a bridge with a number of police cars in pursuit. The tagline would read, “Please ride responsibly.”
The gum is not as bland as the ad
Critique: “A soothing experience” has to be one of the most bland taglines in existence! It might be appropriate with a scene of a person getting massaged while someone is playing the piano and past the sliding glass doors the waves crash on the beach in the background. I don't know. Here, we need to come up with something else.
The overall effect of the ad is almost as flat as the tagline. Green rain. Big deal. The thing here is that 5 gum uses these kinds of ads for different flavors of gum and they work better for other flavors (there is even another one for rain which is a bit better, showing a pack of gum nestled amongst some green foliage with some lightning flashing!).
The copy is very bad and I'm not sure if I should even attempt a line by line dissection. It is fairly generic “adspeak” and does not flow well. At times it even seems to be breaking the rules of grammar. It is so horrible I think I do need to do this in the interests of those who follow...
“Ever tried bathing yourself in a rainstorm?” Is me or does this sentence seem a bit forced? “Ever tried electrocuting yourself with a cattle prod?” What's wrong with, “Ever taken a shower in a rainstorm?” or even “Ever tried bathing in a rainstorm?” without “yourself”. The question seems a bit childish because this is the kind of thing that only kids – and drunks and lovers! - do.
“With new Rain flavoured 5 gum, each piece offers a new refreshing experience.” There are many things wrong with this sentence. Firstly, it does not flow from the last question about the rain (apart form the fact that the gum is rain flavoured!). For example, if it said something like, “each piece is like drops of pleasure that tingle your whole being” then that could be seen as being connected to the last sentence. Also, why does it say “new refreshing” instead of “refreshing new”? The second is obviously very common but it also sounds better! Finally, what does it mean that every piece provides a new experience? It is simply nonsense which was put in because it sounded good to the writer. Each piece of gum tastes the same as the next and perhaps what they wanted to say was something like, “each piece refreshes you anew”.
“From Wrigley's, trusted for more than 100 years.” Once again, this sentence just does not flow well. I would have been more comfortable with a “Made by” instead of a “From” at the very least as the latter is very abrupt and does not sound as good. The word “trusted” here is like many other ads but does not fit well with chewing gum (how much do you really need to “trust” a chewing gum company before paying a few cents for a pack?). I would have used the word “enjoyed” instead. Why couldn't they have said something like, “Made by the original chewing gum company. Wrigley's has been around for 100 years.”
“So expect the same great taste.” Once again, flow problem. It is okay to have short sentences like this in your copy but there are times when the sentences don't come together well. Even the slightest break in the readers flow will take away from the overall impact of the ad. As well, this sentence is cliched and has probably appeared in 1000s of other ads for everything from cigarettes to orange juice. Also, doesn't the word “taste” diminish the “refreshing experience” that we are positioning this product as having? Isn't that the whole point of trying to emphasize the effect of bathing in the rain?
“As well as the same low calorie, sugar free experience as other Wrigley's favourites.” This is a bit of a convoluted way of saying “With low calories and no sugar like all Wrigley's favourites.” The way the sentence is currently structured is making a logical statement that “Wrigley's favourites” are “experiences”. It is another thing that will give readers pause as it is not quite right. What this sentence is trying to say is “of other Wrigley's favourites” and not “as”.
“So experience The New Rain.” This is the most bizarre sentence in the whole thing with “The New Rain” capitalized and italicized and looking like a movie title. It just doesn't make sense! I can't imagine who would have edited this to look like that. Once again, what they have done is create a new title for this gum called “The New Rain” which is absurd. Should I have to point out that the correct way to say this is “so experience the new Rain” with only the last word capitalized (and italicized if you must!)? I would take the “so” out as it makes the sentence sound a little bit like an order (or a little bit out to lunch) because it certainly is not a logical outcome of the previous sentences.
“Pop in a piece of new 5 gum, and relax a little.” I am assuming this sentence is designed to pitch the whole line of 5 gum flavors. “Pop in a piece” just doesn't sound right; “Pop a piece... into your mouth” would be the way to word that. Why they have a comma (“,”) after 5 gum is beyond me. Finally, saying “relax a little” to your customer seems like buffoonery and I don't know whether to laugh or cringe! It's like say, “Yo, take a chill pill” which is not a compliment but the opposite. When you tell someone to relax you are saying that they are too uptight up and that something is wrong with them. It is almost impossible to miss the cultural significance of saying that to someone here in the West. Well, I guess these writers have done the near impossible then.
New Concept 1: The least to do is come up with better a better tagline and copy. Even at the risk of sounding cliched, we want to use more expressive words and get the reader to visualize the “explosion of taste” or what have you that they will experience at chewing a piece of 5 gum. The truth is that, like shampoo and personal care products, most everything that can be said about this kind of product has already been said and written. That is another reason why basing your advertisement on features is not the best approach. In terms of the picture, what about something like a drop of rain with a pack of gum inside or an exploding drop of rain?
New Taglines 1: “Get drenched”; “Experience the tropics”; “A chance of showers”
New Copy 1: Next time there is a rainstorm go outside, strip down to the skin and give yourself over to the power of nature. Or, just grab a piece of 5 gum Rain right now. Okay, you won't get wet but you will get drenched in flavor. Your overwhelmed tastebuds will send tingles up and down your spine all the way to your tippy toes. The resulting sensation feels like you are standing in a downpour and hence the name Rain. Try it if you don't believe us. Wrigley's has only been around for 100 years because we make extraordinary gum. With Rain you get the same low calories and no sugar as our other favourites and an experience that will make you reach for your towel. Visit www.5gum.com to learn about more incredible flavours.
New Concept 2: Rather than selling features which is what everyone else does, you can create an ad that showcases little or nothing about the product but will end up being more impactful and selling more because it emotionally resonates with viewers. Such ads have personality and it really is as simple as that. It may be in the form of a charismatic mascot like Geico's gecko or it may simply be that the ad itself has personality. This is accomplished through a number of techniques such as creating powerful scenarios or having strong actors or models or messaging or creating a compelling focal point which is either interesting, funny, useful or entertaining. Most of the best ads successfully take a single concept or point of differentiation or positioning and build an ad around this. I personally believe that the ultimate kind of ad is to sell without selling and not to talk about product features at all. You might not even show the product. These ads are basically works of art that work simply because viewers are inspired and connect the powerful visceral reaction they have to the brand.
The problem that we're stuck with here, in any case, is that it is hard to discern what a single point of positioning should be for 5 gum. The reason for this is that what they are trying to sell presently is made up; they are saying that eating a piece of gum feels like getting drench in the rain or something like that. That's what I take away from “each piece offers a new refreshing experience.” Taste is only mentioned in passing later on. With the previous piece of copy, for example, I merely elaborated on what the original ad was trying to say and it felt fake. How about jettisoning the whole approach and trying something completely different?
What I have in mind is a campaign called “The Evolution of Gum” which draws on Wrigley's history as being the preeminent gum maker. Everyone knows that Wrigley's has been around far longer than any of the new, fashionable gums that are on the market. Not many people know that Wrigley makes new, fashionable gum too, however. The campaign would feature a picture of the original Wrigley's gum and show how it has evolved over the years with the final picture being of the new 5 gum. What makes the depiction funny is that the original gum is lying down and then over successive evolutions we see it rise to more and more of an upright stature exactly like the evolution of man pictures that everyone is familiar with. Each 5 gum flavor will be done slightly differently so that the very last transition will be market by some extraordinary event – like being run over by an orange truck? - that will produce that 5 gum flavour. In the present case, the second to last Wrigley's specimen will be struck by lightning which produces the Rain specimen as the last link in this evolutionary chain.
New Tagline 2: “The Evolution of Gum”
New Copy 2: In the beginning there was only three gums, Spearmint, Juicy Fruit and Doublemint. There were other gums outside of Wrigley's but they did not last. Wrigley's gums were happy to have been created and for the fact that humans loved them. These original gums didn't know they would be the forerunner of innumerable species of gums down the ages. Over the course of 100 years tastes changed and technology changed and these original gums evolved. In a dramatic burst of creativity the famous sticks of gums were complimented by pieces of gum offered in large square packaging. New flavours came into being such as Extra and Orbit. It was all very exciting because people continued to enjoy all of these species of gum. Until one day when something extraordinary happened and a package of gum was struck by a thunderbolt and 5 gum Rain was created. Are you ready?
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