A Fun Game Between the Superbowl Ads (And I’m Not Talking About Football)

Ok. I admit it. When it comes to sports, I could frankly care less. I didn’t even know who was playing in the “Big Game” until this afternoon (sad, I know).

But I still get super jazzed around this time of year…for the commercials!

Last year, I created a survey (I know, I’m a dork…I get it) to poll the party I attended to find out what people thought of the ads. What started out as a tremendously nerdy exercise on my part ended up being the catalyst for some very interesting debates (Rodney, I’m not going to let you throw Frito’s at people you disagree with this year!)

If you’re like me, you may want to partake in the fun. Here’s the list I came up with last year. Take this list to your party and let me know what you and your friends think by posting a comment below. Additional categories welcome. 🙂

  • Best Use of a Celebrity
  • Most Controversial
  • Most Effective
  • Best New Product/Service/Idea
  • Funniest
  • Best Tagline
  • Biggest Waste of Money
  • Most Likely to Be Blogged About/Talked About Around the Water Cooler

Or, you can skip the whole “fooseball” thing all together and just attend an “Adbowl” like the one hosted by the Richmond Chapter of the American Marketing Association 

Either way, have a safe and fun Superbowl Sunday!

Adventures in Amazing Copywriting #6 – Creating Conversation

aussieshampoo.pngThis week’s adventure brings us Down Under with Aussie’s revamped branding. You may recognize their mascot – the iconic kangaroo and their signature purple bottle. But what catches my eye is the overwhelming personality of the product descriptions.

I’ve been an Aussie fan for years and on my list this weekend was to pick up more product for my personal stash. Since the brand rollout, Aussie has introduced new products, which gave me a perfect excuse to take some time to read each description. (Yes, I do enjoy reading the backs of shampoo bottles in my spare time – when they’re well written.) You know the copywriter has done a good job when I’m laughing out loud in the middle of the aisle.

My favorite description comes from their “Clense & Mend” line:

Front:
“Sometimes your roots are greasy, your ends are frazzled and your car won’t start. This helps two of those problems.”

Back:
“Listen…we’ve all got problems. If yours include greasy roots and frazzled ends, Cleanse & Mend shampoo can cease the crease and quench the tips. If your problems include greasy tips and frazzled roots, you’re in deep trouble.”

Directions:
Work through your other problems as you work this through your clean, damp hair. Rinse well and prosper.”

And I’m also a fan of their new “sprunch” spray:

Description:
“Combine a kickin styling spray with a little scrunch and what do you get? That’s right – Sprunch”

Directions:
“Spray into your hair as you style. Pretty clever, huh? Spray it all over to set your style, which is even more clever. Clever-er, if you will.”

Tagline:
Add some Roo to your do.

Why this works:

1. Understand Your Target Market. Aussie understands their target market which, I’m guessing is 16 to 35 year old women who are hip, thrifty and down to earth. This style of copywriting might not resonate with everyone, but that’s okay. The quirky conversation tugs at the heartstrings (and pursestrings) of the people who matter most.

2. Conversational Copy Creates Emotion. The overall goal of any copywriting is to sell. When a product or service uses a conversational and descriptive style, an emotional connection is made with the consumer. This emotional connection leads to increased brand loyalty which adds to a customer’s lifetime value.

3. Stand Out. Let’s face it, facts, figures and features are BORING! As a consumer, I have far to much information to filter out already, so to make me notice you – you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. Conversational copy can help you do just that.

Related Links

Dawud Miracle – “Maybe The Best Copywriting Tip Ever”

Scott H Young – “Ten Skills Everyone Should Have”

Open IT Strategies – “Finding a voice people can understand”

What’s in a name?

One of my close friends is an architect. I love having her outside perspective when I’m explaining what I do – she almost can’t conceive the life of a copywriter.

The other day she invited me to a party to celebrate one of her friends getting a great job in San Francisco. I jumped at the chance to be in a room full of non-entrepreneurs.

As I socialized, I found a running theme when I described what I do. Here’s the gist of the conversation:

“Yep, I’m an architect too – just like everyone else here. So what do you do?”

“I’m a copywriter”

“Oh, OK.” (insert perplexed look here) “So are you a lawyer that helps people get a copyright?”

At this point I paused – learning that I certainly needed to reword my title. I tested different responses….

“…I’m a freelance writer”

“What do you write about?”

“I write all the words that go on the promotional pieces for a business. Things like websites, fliers, brochures, advertisements – things like that.”

Although this was better – it wasn’t quite there.

Then I hit it.

“…I’m the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing”

“Wow. Really? What does that mean?”

“I help come up with creative ways for companies who have a great product or service get the message out.”

“Sounds like you have a fun job.”

“I do.”

So the question I’m posing to all you fellow copywriters out there is this – how do you introduce yourself at a party? How do you explain your profession so people “get” what you do?

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Too Clever For Your Own Good?

ice-cream.jpgMrs. Mogul posts on the following stores that went out of business in what she thinks is due to their poor naming.

Candle Store – The Almost Edible Candle Gourmet Shop

Ice Cream Store – The Marble Slab

Pet Store – Doggy Style

Your business name is the most critical piece of your branding. How do you know if your clever name will be worthless or a winner?

Try test marketing with these short questions (with strangers for best results).

1. What images does this name make you think of?

2. What feeling does this name give you?

3. If you purchased something from this store, who would it be for?

4. What product/service do you think this company offers?

5. What if I told you this company sold _________? What do you think now?

An effective brand is congruent with the company purpose. If you find the answers to these questions out of whack, revise your name until it’s right. There’s a lot at stake – so it’s worth the investment.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

The History of “We’re Never Too Busy for Your Referrals”

Thanks to Rick Dassler who posted a comment about the history of the phrase “We’re never too busy for your referrals.”

Looks like he has dibbs on the phrase I came up with to replace it – glad it works for you. This idea’s on the house. 😉

Annoying Business Buzzwords and Phrases

annoyed-woman.jpgWhen I hear one of these phrases, a part of me cringes. Are people still talking like this? Are they listening to what they’re saying?

“We offer excellent customer service” – OK, what else do you do. Excellent customer service is standard nowadays. This phrase does NOTHING to set you apart. Plus, “excellent” is such a vague term with little metric value (see post on boastful superlatives).

“We are never too busy for your referrals.” – I would hope not – your chances of closing the deal on a referral are much higher than a cold-call. Who in their right mind would be “too busy?” Are you attempting to solicit your current clients to send you referrals with this message? If so, you might want to try mentioning how your service will be different. Maybe something like, “We treat your referrals like family.”

“This is a ‘turnkey’ solution.” – Enough of the buzzwords. They are fads. They get old. They do not make you seem smarter. Check out Scott Ginsberg’s blog for more annoying buzzwords .

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Catchy Store Names & Taglines

sitting-elf.jpgThere’s a restaurant in town called the Bilbo Baggin’s Cafe – their tagline? “Great Service is More Than Just a Hobbit”

Other store names that caught my eye…

  • A bakery called the Upper Crust
  • A bookstore called Books & Crannies
  • A hair salon called Bangs & Burns

I’ll keep my eye out for more and post as I see them. What are some wacky store names you’ve seen?

BTW, if you’re looking to create your own unique store name, Sam Horn wrote the book.

The Secret to Spectacular Writing

Idea PaintingMany of us search for the perfect words to help sell our product or service. We tweak the recipe until we have a proprietary blend of personality and professionalism. The words jump off the page and the reader feels connected. That is great writing.

I’ve discovered a secret during my career as a copywriter and marketing coach. Toning ideas down is a heck of a lot easier than jazzing them up.

My first few projects started from a logical point of view. I wrote and edited at the same time as most people do. The words were acceptable, but they lacked that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. It needed some sparkle – but adding sparkle to swill isn’t easy.

One day I decided to give my thinking a makeover. I set a goal to find all the outrageous ideas lurking in the far corners of my brain and get them out of my head and onto my computer screen.

I decorated a piece of card stock with silly symbols and the words “JUST THINK” and covered my computer screen. Somehow the paper removed the tiny editor that sat somewhere in my head trashing ideas before they even got to the screen. Since I couldn’t see my work, all my crazy ideas (not just the logical ones) made the journey from my brain, through my fingers and onto the computer.

The result? I discovered many of the ideas that normally wouldn’t have made the cut were more effective than the so-called logical ideas. With a little tweaking and toning down I had writing that worked. The process also saved me time and was fun to boot.

So the next time you’re experiencing writer’s block try covering your screen and opening your mind. Then sit back and watch your ideas blossom.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Freecycle.org – I love you!!!

Our mattress was terrible. I mean really bad. We talked about getting a new one for years and never quite got around to it. Then the other day I got my freecycle e-mail and saw someone was moving and giving away their brand new, still wrapped in the plastic, top of the line Ikea mattress. I emailed them, picked it up, and am now sleeping soundly.freecycle.org

This is the miracle of Freecycle.org – an online community where the term “trash to treasure” is brought to life. Freecycle works through Yahoo! Groups and basically has just a few rules. All items posted must be:

  • free
  • legal
  • appropriate for all ages

Another shining example of a Web 2.0 site that has turned information into an experience (and boy am I glad). I also love the name – it’s memorable, easy to say and accurately describes the services. Kudos.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Superbowl Ads – And the winner is…

Ok, so I’m a day late. Things came up and all I could think about was getting my blog up. Anyway – here we go…..

The winners of the 2007 Write Ideas Marketing Superbowl Commercial Contest are…. (drum-roll please)

Best Use of a CelebrityRevlon for their use of Sheryl Crow (Sorry, Jessica Simpson – we’ve all had enough of you)

Most ControversialSnickers “Man Kiss” (Again, sorry GoDaddy.com – your campaign was too predictable)

And as predicted – this is already being protested by several groups. Click here for a blog about it.

Most EffectiveBudweiser – Dalmatian – a classic hero’s story with cute puppies, how can you go wrong?

Best New Product/Service – OK, I’m getting rid of this category because there weren’t any real “new” products or services this year – just lots of big players that we’ve seen before

Funniest Bud Light – “No Speak English” – celebrating the diversity of the USA – we all found this hilarious (note, this was also a runner up for best use of a celebrity (Carlos Mancia) and Most likely to be blogged about)

Best Tagline – Coca-Cola – Coke celebrates Black History….especially today. Nice touch and not over the top.

Biggest Waste of MoneySierra Mist – just because you throw a bunch of B-list celebrities in a commercial doesn’t make it funny or effective

Most likely to be blogged about/talked about around the water coolerBud Light “Slap Shake” – reminiscing the classic “whassup” – let’s just hope this one doesn’t catch on

As predicted, Amheiser-Busch was the big winner sweeping a total of 3 out of 8 (make that 7) categories. Well played! Your advertising and marketing team deserves a bonus!

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Are you ready for some football (um, make that advertising)?

As a marketer, Superbowl is one of my favorite times of year. I feel like a kid at Christmas just waiting to see all the new stuff.

Is it extreme? Sure. Unrealistic for a normal business? Of course. Entertaining? You betcha!!

Inspired by the ADDYs (the ad world equivalent of the Oscars or Grammys) I’ve decided to judge the Superbowl ads in the following categories, with winners announced on Monday.

1. Best use of a celebrity

2. Most controversial

3. Most effective

4. Best new product/service

5. Funniest

6. Best tag-line

7. Biggest waste of money

8. Most likely to be talked about around the water-cooler/blogged about

Feel free to play along. Happy Superbowl! (or should it be Adbowl?)

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Mac Ads – a witty response to Microsoft Vista

I’m a big fan of the ads that Mac has put out recently. You know – the ones where there’s a conversation between the “mac” and the “pc” Click here to view them all.

Why do I think they’re effective? Here’s a list:

  • Scripted in their customer’s language – like when PC say’s he’s going to listen to some “emo”
  • Effective use of metaphors and imagery – like when PC is having a camera installed
  • Mac does not speak ill of his competition, yet still points out his benefits – when they’re in therapy Mac tells PC “You’re a wiz with numbers and dress like a gentleman.”
  • Simple – you don’t need to “think” to understand the message

The latest ad talks about how the upgrade to vista is “sugery” – again an effective illustration.

Mac is even spreading their message to the UK. Click here to see the UK ads.

Kudos Mac!

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com