On shitty copywriting
Mark Duffy has written the Copyranter blog for 11 years and is a freelancing copywriter with 25-plus years of experience. His hockey wrist shot is better than yours.
It’s not hard, at all, to write a good ad. A great ad, yes, that’s hard. But you don’t even have to be a good writer to write good ads. (See: me.) You just have to have a good ear, a lot of visuals running around in your head and some common sense. That’s it.
Thus, badly written ads confound the fudge out of me. I understand that, during the “creative process,” clients often decide that they are better copywriters than the trained, successful copywriters they are paying and proceed to “tweak” headlines and copy with the result often being headdesk idiocy. But more often than not, it’s not the client’s fault.
(Insert segue here:) Speaking of idiocy, here are a few recent examples of idiotic copywriting.
“When I drive the new 208, I feel … as if I were a swimmer … a swimmer with gills … who only needs to take one breath to go all the way to the lost city of Atlantis.”
You tell me, because I don’t have a fraction of a clue what’s she talking about. Unless: Is the 208 an amphibious car? Agency: BETC, São Paulo.
Abercrombie & Fitch teaser billboards
After millennials — God bless their puritanical hearts — rejected A&F’s soft-porn advertising, the retailer teased their “retooling” this fall with these billboards in Los Angeles and Times Square.
This line reads like it came directly out of the mouth of a red-faced A&F marketing exec and was then dutifully written down by an agency account person and was then included in the agency presentation and then, of course, A&F approved it.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a billboard that makes a retailer sound so stupid. (OK, maybe one other time).
Mastercard: “The Sound of Priceless.®”
“OK, how can we lamprey our ‘Priceless’ campaign onto the ass of the Cubbies,” said some Mastercard suit. “The sound of priceless” — that’s quite the forced tie-in. And putting your trademark ® in the line makes it Lame Hall of Fame lame. Agency: McCann XBC, USA.
Armani Code Profumo
First off, Chris Pine must have Satan as an agent because he has the personality of a cardboard cutout. Which actually works perfectly in this bland, generic fragrance spot as it “explosively” builds the eroticism to the climatic Pine line: “Did you hear something?” Yeah, I think it was a big bag of money hitting the floor backstage, go pick it up, Chris.
OK, the new tagline is fine, I don’t love it, but forget about it for now. Read the asinine copy on the NYC subway poster, right. Who wrote that bullshit “portrait” of a New Yorker? A third-grader from Indiana? Agency: JWT NYC.
Coors Banquet Beer: “Handshake”
“This beer … looks you in the eyes and shakes your hand.”
For about 10 years, actor Sam Elliott has been the voice of Coors. When I first heard that above line, I imagined Elliott in a sound booth somewhere wincing, and yelling, “STOP STOP,” and then going on an Orson Welles-like Findus frozen peas tirade about how bottles of beer are “FUCKING INANIMATE OBJECTS.”
But Elliott probably just kept his mouth shut and kept taking his millions.
Space Florida: “Vacationauts”
Lastly, this isn’t really shitty copy. But it is copy (and that visual) that should never have found its way into a Florida tourism ad, I think. Agency: Paradise Advertising.
‘You’re not going to get it all right’: IBM CMO Michelle Peluso on managing through a crisis
As marketers manage another crisis, they are thinking about how to help their teams as well as how they should be advertising.
‘Stand for something’: As protests continue, tone-deaf influencer marketing is in the spotlight
Questions about diversity in influencer marketing, opportunism and the need for brands to get comfortable with influencers taking a stance on politics and racial issues are bubbling up now as this may be a moment of self-reflection for the influencer marketing community.
‘There isn’t a talent pipeline problem’: Confessions of a black advertising exec
In this edition of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we hear from a black media buyer who believes brands need to do more to support for Black Lives Matter and that agencies still haven't truly changed their hiring policies.
SponsoredVideo: Marketers discuss the future state of less interruptive in-stream ads
In a new video, experts from GumGum, The Martin Agency and Pinterest discuss the future of video advertising — and outline their vision for how video ads can be less disruptive.
Member ExclusiveDigiday Research: Over half of brands say they handle marketing ‘mostly’ with internal resources
Digiday’s quarterly benchmarking survey found that about 83% of marketers are managing their marketing either mostly in-house or completely in-house. That's up from the 55% of marketers six months ago who said the same.
Member Exclusive‘Our job is to sell’: Marketers, moving past coronavirus response, return to selling products
Marketers need to get back to the job at hand: Keeping the squeaky wheels of capitalism turning.