THE 5 ADS INSPECTED TODAY:
Welcome to 'MAD ABOUT THE AD' — a fast, fun & opinionated look at the words used in ads.
Each instalment of 'MAD ABOUT THE AD' features ads we consider effective and others we dare to challenge. Understand, literally no one has asked for our opinion on any of these ads, but this series is about helping your brand use words better, and of course, us enjoying the sound of our own voice.
'MAD ABOUT THE AD' = We like the ad!
'MAKES US MAD' = Nah, not a fan.
AD: Lloyds Bank
OPINION: Makes us mad
Paying for stuff you no longer use... we've all done it, right? This headline is nicely relatable, but the copy could be more motivating.
Neuroscience studies suggest that humans are motivated more by the fear of loss than the pleasure of gain, so our proposed headline would've been:
Losing money on subscriptions you forgot to cancel?
NOTE: All brands have tone of voice (TOV) guidelines that steer the language used across their comms. Lloyds Bank's TOV is routinely warm and supportive -- "We're by your side" — so I certainly accept that our proposed headline might lean too heavily into tabloid trash!
What do you think — which of the two headlines would most inspire you to sort out your financial sh**? Tweet us your thoughts.
AD: P&O CRUISES
OPINION: Mad about the ad
As seen in the Lloyds Bank ad, P&O makes great use of everyday familiarity i.e. not everyone has been on a cruise, but everyone owns a mobile phone, so by making a phone the 'hero' of this ad, it minimises potential friction.
Also, displaying 15 snapshots of someone's dream day brilliantly communicates the experience of a cruise.
Best of all, the efficient use of copy — 'And that was just Friday' — says a lot without actually saying a lot. Inspired.
OUR ONE RESERVATION:
We have no idea why 'Get more holiday. Every day.' has been split into two sentences. None whatsoever.
OPINION: Mad about the ad
Do you see a pattern here?
Again, this ad priorities the experience to be gained (hearing more stuff) over the product to be bought (a hearing aid). We approve!
Better yet, this ad nicely deploys our old chum rhyme — which, when done with cold, calculated premeditation generates extraordinary revenues for Tesco and party votes for politicians, as we showed you here.
BUT... ONE QUESTION:
Remember us showing you how Shopify makes billions of dollars using assertive language and action verbs? Well, with that in mind, we wonder if Specsavers would generate more £££s if they tweaked 'Want more sound for your pound?' slightly to 'Get more sound for your pound.'
Truthfully, we're perfectly happy with the original version — questions are powerful currency in copywriting — we're just thinking out loud here.
AD: Many pets
OPINION: Makes us mad
We appreciate pet insurance company Many Pets' ambition here, but the headline copy is best described as... a grandad pun that'd make your grandad puke.
Good god. Just no.
It took us far too long to decipher that wordplay, and once the penny dropped, we immediately started scouring the streets, looking for a cat, to claw our eyes out.
We must concede, however, that drawing parallels between a cat ripping into stuff and people tearing into the advertising wrap is imaginative and well-conceived, but for us, the headline undermines all that creative goodness.
How long did it take you to decode that 'Tear-apy' headline? And, do you think the wordplay is deliberately tenuous to get idiots like us giving the brand more eyeball time?
Tweet us your thoughts, we're genuinely torn on that last question.
AD: BURGA phone cases
OPINION: Made us mad (but not furious like 'Tear-apy')
Actually, this ad doesn't make us mad per se, it's just lifeless, uninspired and uses tired copywriting tropes:
'This isn't your average phone case'
Really? Why, is it also a microwave?
'The only case you'll need'
Oh. And what about when I upgrade my phone?
As we sought alternative copy for this ad — copy that conveys the experience of owning the case rather than banging on about the case itself — we used our beloved soap opera technique to steer us.
We imagined 22-year-old university graduate, Erin, meeting Jess, Olivia and Reece for coffee. Late as usual, Erin dashes over, hugs the crap out of her three besties and plonks her phone next to Olivia's flat white. All eyes are drawn to the intricate geometric patterns adoring Erin's phone case. Swoons ensue. A barrage of questions follow. Sadly, none of the questions explore Erin's new job as a TV researcher — her dream job.
And Voilà! This fun scene dropped an alternative headline for the phone case right into our lap.
And here it is:
Sorry, but people might start finding your phone more interesting... than you.
What do you think about the ads in our first instalment of 'MAD ABOUT THE AD'? Do you agree with anything we've said or disagree with every word? Tell us on Twitter, 'cause despite Elon Musk's yawn-inducing tripe, we still like it on there. Come say hi.