Copywriting Analysis: Caravan Club Advert

I am a girl of simple pleasures.

Sausage rolls, pork pies, stationery, puppies and napping.

It doesn’t have to be fancy schmancy to get my attention, and that’s a good rule to think about when you’re writing copy for your business.

Recently a few adverts have caught my eye, for the right reasons and it’s because they state in very simple terms, strong benefits without 20% added hype.

If you’re struggling to write an advert or sales page, some times the best thing you can do is go down the simple route of listing what your customer would like about your business, product or service.

Check out this hot piece of advertising pie from Green Flag Insurance in association with the caravan club.

Simple, specific copywriting - better than a lot of adverts but could be better...

Sizzling, no?

Now, while this might not seem like the sexiest advert in the world, it does what it does pretty well.

It has resisted the temptation to do snazzy, wacky advertising and for that I applaud Green Flag.

Because you know, if my caravan breaks down I don’t want wacky. I want reliable, I want fast service, and I don’t really want to be paying too much for it.

So let’s look a little closer at the copy for this advert:

Simple benefit headline (but could be better)

Nothing too clever, but it focuses straight away on the biggest pain point of breaking down (especially with a caravan) which is:

Having a crappy day out/ holiday.

Now, if we were to rate this on Bob Bly’s scale of the 4Us (urgent, useful, ultra-specific and unique) it doesn’t really touch any of those – BUT, it is a step up from the majority of insurance / cover adverts which spew clichéd phrases such as “peace of mind.”

It talks directly to the target audience (people who need breakdown cover) and implies a benefit (smooth, simple service that gets them on with their journey quickly).

Most businesses fail to do this and if you’re starting out – these 2 points will lead you towards a stronger headline than most.

So, how could we turn this into a headline that was urgent, useful, ultra-specific and unique? How’s about:

“We won’t let breakdowns ruin your summer holiday:

Guaranteed arrival within 60 minutes and 50% off your cover when you register before June 5th”

Strategic imagery

To reinforce the lack of stress, we do have a couple of cliché photos of people having such a super time after their breakdown has been so smooth.

A little cheesy?

Yes.

But like I’ve said, we’re not necessarily looking to rock the boat with this advert. What I do like is the top photo which is the equivalent of “showing the product at work” image.

A mechanic with a shiny van (so you can recognise and remember the name) and a lovely high-vis jacket going to work fixing your car.

On a personal note – I also love the authenticity of cloudy skies… that’s pretty much how we roll in the UK with our British holidays.

To summarise, if you’re looking at images for your own advert, consider including:

  • An image of your product at work
  • An image of your business name (or business)
  • Positive imagery of the result

Specific copywriting

Now, with the images taking up quite a bit of room, there’s not a lot of room for the copy,and what I really like is how the copy highlights specific benefits.

For example:

  • 1 in 4 caravan club members trust MAYDAY to keep them on the road
  • On average, 25% of our customers will use the breakdown service at least once during the first year of the policy
  • If we don’t arrive within an hour, you can claim £10

Could we improve these benefits?

Let’s have a little think…

The first benefit is all about social proof.

They want a potential customer to think that other caravan club members (people just like them) use this particular breakdown cover. But just telling people that other caravan club members isn’t the most compelling way to achieve social proof.

Better options would be:

  • A testimonial from a customer
  • A direct reference to how many caravan club member they helped: “Last year we got over 2,300 Caravan Club members moving and to their holidays on time”
  • A specific reference to how their service is tailored for those caravaning

The second benefit is to imply that the customer will probably need the service within a year, but this could be stronger particularly if they related it to the cost of cover and value for money:

Save £100s in recovery costs – With cover from £34, if you need us just once this year (like a quarter of our members do), your investment it worth it!

Now, I do think the third benefit could be a lot stronger. If I’m stranded on a motorway for more than an hour, the privilege to “claim” (notice it doesn’t say “give” which makes me think there’s paperwork / long phone calls involved) for £10 is not going to make me happy.

If you’re going to include a time guarantee (and for a holiday service this is going to be a prime benefit) then make it bold.

I’m sure the company will have a lot of data to help them analyse the lifetime value of a customer, plus the statistics of how long it takes to reach a customer to see how much money they could offer to build confidence and trust.

I’m betting they could offer a lot more than £10, for example:

  • If we don’t arrive within an hour we’ll transfer £100 to your account the same day to enjoy your holiday
  • If we’re not there in 60 minutes, we’ll refund your membership and give you next year for free

And along the lines of how to provide a better service, I’m wondering if teams could provide water / snack bars as standard when they arrive for anyone on long journeys?

Feasible? Not sure, but if I was hungry, broken down and a guy turned up who was pleasant, fixed my car AND fed me, I’d probably marry him.

Minus point – confusing branding

One problem I do have with this advert is the confusion of brand names. It would benefit from including it in the headline because as you read through the ad, you’re given:

  • MAYDAY vehicle rescue
  • The Caravan Club
  • (In partnership with) Green Flag

One questions I’d have is, who is my cover with? For breakdown cover you want one point of contact. You don’t want any confusion which might have people thinking they need to contact the caravan club if they breakdown.

This advert could benefit from one clear statement which reads:

“MAYDAY vehicle cover is provided by Green Flag and offers exclusive discounts to members of The Caravan Club”

Nice, and simple.

Lovely.

So – what are your thoughts? Did this advert raise your temperature gauge? Get your coolant bubbling or have you blowing a gasket? (Forgive me… I know all of nothing about how a car works…)

Let me know in the comments below!

Comments

  1. harrisonamy says:

    Hey Kerry, thanks for your comment – appreciate it!

    I see that your company works for the caravan club, so not sure if you worked on this advert, but its great to get perspective from your side if you did, and understand you would be proud of your work :-)

    Overall I really like the ad. I still think there could have been tweaks to improve the copy, even within the FSA guidelines.

    The suggestions I provided are a few examples. If working on the copy it’s going to go back and forth to compliance for balance. With product and offering, it also depends on the company, some work closer with sales and marketing, and some are very separate departments. So you’re right, if you’re working with a company that has a set offer and won’t budge on it, then the above suggestions wouldn’t apply.

    A lot of my readers are business owners or companies that are able to develop the offering alongside the marketing, or are interested in doing this. If you’re an agency representing a company that won’t move on this, then you have to run with what the offer is.

    Thanks for your contribution!

  2. An interesting critique. I don’t think you quite understand the limitations of advertising within an FSA regulated industry. Saying things like ‘guarantee’ and offering a % discount are big no no’s. So whilst they may have made the ad urgent, useful, ultra-specific and unique they would have also come under fire from compliace and left the advertiser open to complaints. I also wonder whether you are analysing the copywriting or the product offering? Suggesting that they give £100 back to customers or feed them on arrival at a breakdown is surely down to the product and pricing team and not marketing or copywriting?

    Overall, I’d say the copy and ad in general did a very good job, working within the strict compliance guidelines of this industry!

  3. many people use the same marketing strategy to gain success, but people tend to forget to think something out of the box which will make them famous much sooner.

  4. I find this kind of coverage tremendously helpful–most of us probably aren’t selling insurance, but it really helps to see something from another industry picked apart and analyzed. More, please.

    • harrisonamy says:

      Hey Danno!

      Stepping outside your own industry is really useful to get ideas on copywriting and marketing. Too many people hang out with businesses in their industry and you end up using the same marketing tools and language. Get around a bit and you can find ways to freshen things up! :-)

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