How e-commerce copy goes viral

VirusAt the moment, there is a massive trend towards humour and irony in product copy. Sales are being boosted by viral reviews on Amazon and creative descriptions on eBay. These examples may be among the funniest things you’ll ever read. Perhaps you can use them to inspire your own copywriting.

Bic for Girls

You might have seen the recent news that reviews for this girly pen went viral (a total of 530 on the Amazon.co.uk site at the time of writing).

Here’s the official description:

A beautifully smooth ball pen designed specifically for women. The pink barrel has a great floral design that continues onto the metal cone. Super smooth Easy Glide ink & a cushioned grip make writing with this pen ultra comfortable!

Many people took offence at the idea the pen was just for women. Here’s just one of the spoof reviews by Davey Clayton:

No good for man hands
I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.

Read this and other fun reviews at Amazon.co.uk/productreviews/B004FTGJUW

Veet for Men

Another Amazon product with reviews that went viral is Veet for Men. The original description is fine, as it spells out the benefits and usage process clearly.

Veet For Men Gel Creme is a quick and effective way to remove body hair leaving your skin feeling smoother for up to twice as long as shaving. Get smooth results in as little as four minutes, with an easy rinse-off formula that allows you to use it in the shower. No razor rash and no prickly regrowth. Leave on for between 4-6 minutes, no longer. Suitable for the back, chest, arms, legs and underarms only. Always follow the directions for use.

I daren’t include the reviews (most of them are a bit rude!). If you enjoy that kind of thing, you’ll find them at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Veet-Men-Hair-Removal-Creme/dp/B000KKNQBK.

Three Wolf Moon T-shirt

The item that started this trend (as far as I know) is the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. The first ironic review was by Brian Govern and ended:

Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the ‘guns’), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.

That prompted thousands of similar reviews, and sales shot up 2,300% according to the BBC.

Read the whole story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Wolf_Moon

Ford Focus 1.8 Zetec Ghia

A user by the name of ‘Pistolfeet’ advertised a Ford Focus 1.8 Zetec Ghia on eBay and sold it for £1080. Here’s his first paragraph:

If Trebor made car paint then I imagine it would look something like the colour of this car, it’s a pale minty green. I will include some green Trebor mints in the sale so that you can compare for yourself. Please specify if you would prefer Extra Strong mints instead, they are white (unlike the colour of this car) but I personally prefer them even if I do hold them partially responsible for the decay in one of my teeth.

The rest of the text along with comments and drawings, is at Anorak.co.uk/278787/keyposts/the-greatest-ebay-advert-ever-theford-focus-1-8-zetec-ghia-with-knickers.html (it’s well worth a read, just for the entertainment value).

Used wetsuit

Surfer d_h_morgan advertised his used wetsuit on eBay. The humorous copy he wrote attracted over 130,000 hits and sold for £9,000 (apparently, he said he’d give 90% of the proceeds to charity). His text started like this:

“I bought this wetsuit brand-new last year and have worn it a fair bit. When I say ‘fair’ I reckon about 20 times, but then probably more like 30. A fair few times anyway. If it was not being worn, it was hung on a hangar or rolled to prevent creasing AND I rinsed it in fresh water after EVERY session so it’s in VERY good condition as I look after my gear, I always do, similarly I take care of my body and shower at least once a day and always moisturise. Yes you’re probably getting a feel for the kind of man I am. You can see from the pictures it has no creases and looks lovely.”

If you want to read the rest (which gets a bit more risqué), it’s at http://web.orange.co.uk/article/quirkies/eBay_wetsuit_listing_goes_viral.

What you can learn from these examples is that today’s customers want entertainment as well as information. They want humour as well as facts and figures. And if you are sufficiently creative with your product copy, they will pass it on to their friends. Go on, be brave and try something new. And remember that a professional copywriter can help you with that (nudge, nudge)!


Extract from my third book, The Little Fish Guide to Writing your own Website

photo credit: MERS Coronavirus Particles via photopin (license)

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