I don’t know whether the world is getting meaner, or copywriters are looking for new ways to make the target market listen, but I’m noticing more adverts using a little ‘snark’ to get the message across.
I passed this one today on my walk to work (sorry for the reflection):
It reminded me of this copywriting example of a bad tone-of-voice (scroll down), the one that might as well be calling me an idiot.
In this above advert, they’re not calling me stupid, but there is some ‘reading between the lines’ to be done.
London is the capital of the food world not your sofa you lazy so and so
London is the capital of the food world not your sofa you uncultured slob
London is the capital of the food world not your sofa you flippin’ troglodyte
And the fact they’ve used ice cream that looks like it’s made from Play-Doh as the image, is another subtle suggestion that says:
“I bet this is what you’re used to because you have no idea what else is out there…”
And then there’s the subheading:
Get out more
All in all, it’s certainly not making a friend out of me.
Want prospects to listen? Don’t make them feel bad.
I love my sofa.
Really love it.
It’s not like I live on it, but every now and then I thoroughly enjoy a night ensconced on my cosy two-seater, with Malc, a bit of telly and some wine.
I’m not going to feel like I should be running round London instead of doing that when I want to.
But let’s say I love my sofa more than I should.
Let’s say that all I do is sit on it and eat takeaway food. Is that headline going to give me the impetus to jump up and get a train for an hour into London? No. It’s going to feel like a commentary on my lifestyle. That some how my habits are ‘less than’ acceptable.
One of the best ways to gauge the right tone-of-voice for your target market is to ask yourself:
How would I address this person face-to-face?
Do we honestly believe a sales person would use the above line when in person with a potential customer? If so, that prospect is mostly like to walk away thinking :
If your copy is insulting your customer, you’re building a barrier at the precise moment you want them to be receptive to what you have to say. So what can you do instead?
2 things missing in this copy…
One: It criticises the prospect’s lifestyle (not the problem)
When you blame your customer, you’re putting yourself across an invisible divide. When you blame a problem, you put yourself on the same side, fighting a common battle.
What could the problem be here? Boredom? Lack of choice?
The risk with those choices is that you fall into the realm of criticising the reader’s imagination, or local area.
Let’s think about this.
It’s summer time here in the UK, and we have spectacularly unpredictable weather, so taking a holiday for some guaranteed sun can be important to people.
Perhaps our prospect is wishing for more holidays than they can actually take during the summer. Perhaps they’ve just come back from holiday and wished they had more time, or maybe they’re saving money and have had to skip a vacation this year.
The copy talks about London being the capital of the food world… so why not bring some of that exoticism to the advert?
Based on that, we could play around with this concept:
Already missing your favourite holiday cocktail?
Relive those sunset memories in just 50 minutes…
Search 1000s of restaurants in London in seconds. With cuisines from around the world, you can be in holiday-mode after a short train-ride from Brighton. Visit [website] and choose your food vacation today.
The problem: wanting a holiday / missing a holiday
The solution: wide variety, nostalgia, easy search, closer than you think.
Two: so what could my life be like instead? (What’s possible)
The original copy suggests we get off our behinds and stop staying at home.
But it doesn’t say what the alternative is.
If it’s green and blue ice cream as the image suggests, you can keep it my friend.
If I trust you and follow your instructions, what will I find? Memories? Fun? Entertainment? Cuisine I’ll remember? There’s nothing here that strips away the mystery of what happens after the call to action.
As a result, there’s no motivation to do anything. There’s no promise of a transformation in my life, or an unforgettable experience.
It doesn’t say – hey get out there because look at what you’re missing!
It just says:
You shouldn’t live your life that way… though I can’t really give you a compelling reason to do it any other way, except my silent condemnation… does that help?
In short, all this advert makes me want to do is go home, grab some wine on the way and stretch out like an internet cat on my wonderful sofa.
What do you think? How would you change the headline to sell this service? Let me know in the comments below!