For centuries, marketers have known that producing carefully crafted, compelling copywriting has a profound impact on perceptions of their brand.
As a creative copywriter, I’ve always been fascinated by the psychological mechanisms of words, and how they influence and inspire people to think and act in a certain way.
In this article, I’ve curated some of the best examples of how creative copy is used to compliment 21st-century advertising campaigns.
The shock election of Donald Trump in 2016 provoked a hysterical response across the globe. Durex saw this as a perfect opportunity to capitalise on the event when they released an advert of Donald Trump in the Oval Office alongside copy which reads ‘Durex Lubes. Get in anywhere. Really. Anywhere’.
As part of the Belgium beer’s re-brand, Gordon took a brave new step in a different direction with their marketing by embracing a stripped-back, no-frills, raw personality. The new slogan would form the basis of their identity going forward, which is centred around having ‘nothing to prove’.
In early 2018, KFC had to close every restaurant in the UK because they ran out of chicken. Angry customers took to social media to complain and find out why their beloved chicken shop had turned it’s back on them. KFC issued a timely response to the PR crisis with an excellent apology advert which read ‘Fck, we’re sorry’.
Some people say that honesty is the best policy. Global beverage company Oasis took this maxim to a new level with their refreshingly honest summer 2015 ad campaign, which caught people’s attention by being straight-forward about the intentions of their advert. ‘It’s summer. You’re thirsty. We’ve got sales targets’.
‘Gherkin or gherkout?’ That’s the question McDonald’s asked us back in 2004 with their outdoor advertising campaign. The advert, which featured a picture of a Big Mac alongside clever wordplay, successfully re-ignited the famous debate amongst the public, which to this day, continues to fiercely divide opinion.
NEW YORK LOTTERY (2014)
In 2014, the New York Lottery launched an advert which featured a lady sat by a pool thinking to herself: ‘If tomatoes are a fruit, wouldn’t ketchup technically be a smoothie?’ Food for thought. They ask – ‘What would you think about if you don’t have to think about money?’ Trivial things like this, I guess.
AIR ASIA (2008)
A simple yet highly effective (and slightly cheeky) use of wordplay comes from an Air Asia advert in 2008. Needless to say that this advert probably wouldn’t be allowed today. Where did the fun in advertising go? The ASA stole it. The witty ad reads ‘Cheap enough to say, Phuket, I’ll go’.
It’s honesty again. And this time, it’s Volkswagen’s turn. To mark the release of the all-new Volkswagen Up!, the German automotive giant released a funny and sarcastic advert which read ‘If you want a car that lets you feel the wind in your hair, drive to a windy place and get out the car’.
THE ECONOMIST (2005)
In 2005, Katie Price (AKA Jordan) was regularly featured in the media after her appearance on ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here’. The Economist took this opportunity to differentiate its subscribers from the masses by subtly suggesting that readers of The Economist ‘think differently’ to others.
In 2011, Starburst released a series of anecdotal adverts which, similarly to Oasis, shine a light on the humorous side of advertising. This particular advert looks like it pokes fun at its British customers by calling them ‘pale people who burn easily’.
2009 saw consumer electronics retailer Dixons release a series of down-to-earth, eloquent and articulate adverts which used copywriting to great effect. Each advert described how consumers use up-market retailers to look and try products, purely for the experience, but then go to Dixons to actually purchase them.
URBAN EATERY (2012)
This seemingly convoluted advert from Urban Eatery was way ahead of it’s time for 2012. The text-filled billboard was a perfect example of how long-form copy is used to good effect. The copy seems to mock it’s own customers by playing on the stereotype and other cliché lifestyle choices of so-called hipsters.
In 2014, Ricola, a company that specialises in cough medicine, launched an outdoor ad campaign that featured a series of statements that were made to look insincere by unprompted coughs in the middle of each statement. This was used to good effect in this advert, which reads ‘She’s just a (cough) friend’.
We had to include one of our own (favourite) adverts from money management app Squirrel. The theme of the campaign was all about ‘reclaiming control’ of your finances. This particular advert gives a humorous take on how a lot of us can’t help but waste our money on seemingly pointless stuff.
Do you know of any examples of outstanding creative copywriting in advertising? Share them with us in the comments!