Archive | Good, bad and ugly ads

Oh what a lovely bit of copy

I saw this ad on the train yesterday, and read it several times out of pure enjoyment.

How refreshing to see the copy over-riding the visuals (because we all know what mattresses look like).

What a nice, simple, sunny brand (makes sense, it’s about waking happy).

Even the offer code is perfectly written. (A ‘no brainer’, in fact.)


Copy by Paul Belford.

I love a confident client who allows me to write in a conversational style like that.

For example, here’s what I wrote recently for a contact page:

You’ll find our grand old office building tucked away behind a surprisingly residential street. Please make an appointment before you visit, and we’ll put the kettle on.

If you want your brand to sound like a human, give me a call.


What’s wrong with this ad?

A warm voice reads: “You wouldn’t shampoo without conditioning, so why not use a combination thrush treatment like Canesten Combi to soothe the external itch AND clear the internal infection.”

First, I reckon some people DO shampoo without conditioning.

Second, there is absolutely no logical connection between washing your hair and treating thrush.

Third, saying “use a treatment like Canesten” almost encourages people to check out similar alternatives.

Hmm, you wouldn’t write copy without using a copywriter, would you?


RIP Hyundai ad.

Hyundai tried marketing a new car as ‘safe for suicide’. Such a bad idea. How did it ever get through?

Unsurprisingly, the ad was killed.

Top tip: Go to your local supermarket and buy a packet of Common Sense.

Find out more on the BBC website.


Great use of a QR code!

QR code stands for Quick Response code. They are the ugly little squares you’ve probably seen appearing all over the place. You scan it with your smartphone (you need to download a QR code reader app first – free) and it takes you direct to a web page without you having to type in the URL / web address.

You can get them free online, but most people use them in the most unimaginative way, such as printing the QR code on their business card and it links to their home page. I even know one person who reproduced a QR code on their website! Erm, why?

Here’s a great example of a creative way to use a QR code, in a recruitment ad for a tattoo artist. How clever is that!

The only time I’ve ever scanned one was in a restaurant. There was a card on the table printed with a QR code and asking for feedback on the meal in return for entry into a free draw. That works so much better than the till receipt in Boots or Tesco saying (something like): ‘How did we do? When you get home, go to our website and tell us’. Who can be bothered to do that? Not I, sir!

P.S. Another little-known fact: You can customise a percentage of the QR code with your own logo (or whatever).


Now *that’s* what I call customer service

Last week, I took my car for a service at WJ King in Bromley. As always, the staff on the phone and in person treated me exceptionally well. But what really amazed me was this experience:
When I dropped off the car
“There’s been a product recall on your car.”
“What about?”
“The little hooky thing* that is the catch release for the bonnet. We’ll replace it for you as part of the service. No charge.”
“Oh, OK.”
When I collected the car
“We’ve serviced your car, and replaced the little hooky thing. And, as an apology for the product recall, we’ve also given you a free pack of car polish and conditioner.”
Seat car cleaner on the seat of my Seat.


That level of customer care is a lesson for all of us.

*I may not have remembered the exact wording here.