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.
‘Work as a set of activities, not a place’: How companies reducing the office footprint are reallocating capital
As many firms shrink their space, they are reinvesting in their tech infrastructure, in particular services that facilitate hybrid work and wellness.
‘No one’s going in blind’: Brands are bringing gaming and esports in-house
Brands like AB InBev, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Red Bull, PepsiCo, Manchester City, KFC have set up — or are setting up — specialist teams or roles for esports and gaming.
‘Going viral is not a strategy’: How Hotwire is leveraging online video and TikTok to reach its younger audience
To get in front of its new Gen Z audience, Hotwire is turning toward online video, with an emphasis on TikTok.
SponsoredHow the ad industry can use its borrowed time to future-proof first-party data solutions
Trent Lloyd, co-founder and head of brand solutions, Eyeota Google’s updated timeline for its Privacy Sandbox rollout, including its two-year delay of third-party cookie deprecation on Chrome, didn’t come as a surprise to many industry observers, given the limited utility of Google’s FLoC and the slow momentum of the Privacy Sandbox in the World Wide […]
‘There has to be an authentic manner in which you approach our fans’: T1 CEO Joe Marsh on brand partnerships in gaming and esports
Digiday reached out to T1 CEO Joe Marsh to learn about the philosophy and strategy behind the organization’s brand partnerships.
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: Ad execs and marketers say this Olympics has ‘lost its luster’
The typical global fervor for the Olympics is lacking this year, making it less of a marketing must than in years previous. More in this week's Digiday+ Marketing Briefing.