Lately, I’ve realized I’m a bit of a copy nerd.
Well, maybe not “a bit.” Maybe I’ve plunged headlong into the depths of abject dorkitude in my enthusiasm for really creative, inspired copy.
At any rate, I noticed, I sure do spend a lot of internal monologue time assessing copy—whether it be web copy, radio advertisements, news stories—whatever.
Why not turn all that excess of opinionation into blog posts?
So I present to you the first of a hopefully regular feature on the Prose Kiln blog: the Copy Roundup.
Old Spice YouTube campaign
Why It’s Good
- The jokes are 95% hilarious.
- The tone is flawless.
- It was written and performed on the fly.
If you live in a cave in Antarctica, then you may have missed the Old Spice promotion that ran online a few weeks ago. That promotion, has made a star out of Isaiah Mustafa, aka “the man your man could smell like.”
I know I’m a little late in commenting on this. But Mustafa is only one piece—however crucial—contributing to the campaign’s success. The other, equally essential element, was the copy.
I’m not gonna lie. The original Old Spice Super Bowl ad left me cold. I didn’t even think “I’m on a horse” was that great. But the YouTube vids are flawless. I freaked out over “live pufferfish and decommissioned hand grenades.” I laughed at the pirate pinata and rolling candelabras. More than anything, though, I was amazed at how perfectly the ads conveyed the tone of the campaiagn.
Unlike its classless competitor Axe, Old Spire is no lowbrow shortcut to getting skanks to chase you through a mall. It’s hilariously high-class, yet friendly. There is no hint of misogyny—or misanthropy—here.
To consistently, hilariously get this right, under pressure I can only imagine, is a feat that leaves me in awe. My proverbial hat is off to Craig Allen and Eric Kallman, the copywriters who wrote all these videos within the space of TWO DAYS. These guys are my new heroes.
Aloft Hotel print materials
Why It’s Bad
It’s largely nonsensical gibberish that values cuteness over clarity.
When I attended the STC Summit in May, I stayed at an Aloft Hotel. It was my first time at an Aloft, which is a scaled-down, yet ultra-trendy Starwood joint.
Not being a big traveler, I was enchanted by the hotel décor, including the faux exposed brick in my room. But I noticed something about the print flyer that had been placed on the desk.
Aloft, simply putting “A” in front of regular English words does not constitute branding. It does, however, make me a-nnoyed, and a-mazed that I have to decipher what should be a simple set of instructions for dialing out.
McDonald’s Billboard Campaign
Why It’s Meh
- Most of the copy shots are surprisingly weak.
- McDonald’s has lots of money—it can do better.
I commute through Houston every day, so it was tough to miss the new McDonald’s billboards that popped up along the highways a couple months ago. The copy tries—a little too hard—to be cute, clever, and casual, while of course selling the deliciousness of McDonald’s food.
The copy shots include:
- “Good things come to those who wake” (next to a picture of an egg McMuffin)
- “Nooooooo…” (next to a picture of an empty carton of fries)
- “Our hotcakes are going like…”
- “If coffee is joe, consider this Joseph.”
These aren’t terrible. But yeesh. Considering the resources McDonald’s has at its disposal, it’s tough to imagine they couldn’t get a better, more consistent copywriter. Or at least an editor who could let the decent lines, like “Good things come to those who wake,” through while axing lame ones like “Joseph.”
So, what about you? Seen any great, meh, or terrible copy lately?