The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

It’s Not Copy, It’s Motivation …
July 5, 2011, 6:07 am
Filed under: Comment

I’ve talked before about people being too quick to say long copy doesn’t work – when the truth is, it’s bad long copy that doesn’t work.

Just like bad short copy.

Or bad headlines.

When you read words that capture the sprit of the time … the feelings held within … the desires wishing to be released … long copy – or any copy for that matter – ceases to be words on a page, but an emotion that envelops you and takes you to a better place … a place that makes you feel alive.

I wish I had that talent … I wish I could write like that … but I don’t, which is why when I’m writing a brief – on top of looking for as much stimulus as I can possibly find – I like to work and collaborate with copywriters, because in my experience they help me capture and communicate what I’m trying to say in a way that allows the reader to feel the words rather than just read them.

I say this because I’ve just come across a piece of writing that I copied down from a BBC Football pundit a couple of months ago.

It was just before one of the last games of the English Premier League was about to begin – a game between Manchester United and Chelsea – where the winner would basically be crowned the champion.

While I don’t support either team, the way this journalist captured the importance of the upcoming 90 minutes made me feel compelled to be a part of it …

I wanted to be part of the experience.

I wanted to know “I was there”.

I wanted to belong.

“These are the days we live for; the days that come as a gift from above.

Today, kids will fall in love with football for the first time and grown men and women will look upon the action free from the cynicism they encounter in everyday life.

Today, all of us will watch the game through the eyes of a child – with hope in our hearts and the sport we love, coursing through our veins.

After eight months of maneuvering, jostling, cruising clear at the top and lagging off the pace, it comes down to this … a 90-minute shootout at the Theatre of Dreams to decide who will be bestowed with glory and who, after such a sacrifice, will have ultimately fought in vain.”

Maybe you feel different, but every time I read it – and I mean every time – I feel excited and nervous at the same time.

I want to relive the moment … see what happens … experience the ups and downs.

In short, that bit of writing is up there with this …

Or what I believe is the advertising equivalent of Al Pacino’s speech …

Sure, they both are clips that have been delivered with tension, drama and emotion … however if you were to take the soundtrack away and simply read the words on a page, I think you’d still feel the power of what’s being said, which is what we should all be aiming for.

Planning isn’t about writing, but good writing makes planning [and everything that comes from it] better – so next time you have a brief, don’t just think about what you need people to know, think about what you need people to feel.

41 Comments so far
Leave a comment

thats fucking right folks, he got me to write the creative fucking briefs as well. explains why his work was so fucking good but fails to explain how he kept his fucking job when he outsourced every fucking bit of job responsibility on his fucking plate.

Comment by andy@cynic

How else could he write so many bad blog posts without your help.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Exactly Billy. So in short, this blog is all Andy’s fault. Nice.

Comment by Rob

good fucking post though.

even if its all been said before and youve used that any given sunday clip like sheen uses coke.

Comment by andy@cynic

for the fucking record, that football thing makes me think football fans are sad fucking bastards. but it made me think theyre slightly less sad fucking bastards than i usually do.

could be the words. could be that it doesnt involve nottingham fucking forest.

Comment by andy@cynic

Where’s the “like” button?

Comment by Billy Whizz

from what i hear you cant find the love button either.

Comment by andy@cynic

planning isnt about writing. what the fuck is planning about?

and that whisper ad is fucking good. even your mate neil fucking french would appreciate that but hed claim its a pastiche on his fucking work.

Comment by andy@cynic

and the chrysler ad is fucking good too. anything that can make shit cars and shit cities feel like you want to be part of it is top level fucking work. pisses on old spice but got a fraction of the fucking accolades. the industry is fucked.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t know if it ‘pisses’ on the Old Spice work – but it certainly moved me a lot more than the uber-deodorant campaign. Saying that, it’s a good point about award judging – which, as you once said, is as much about being associated with great work [regardless of it’s legitimacy] as it is recognising great work.

Comment by Rob

they give cyber fucking awards to shit that is basically a tv spot onfuckingline but they pass over on shit that is just a fucking good tv spot.

not talking about old spice, that was pretty good, im talking about a fuckload of other shit given metal at cannes.

its as fucking twisted and corrupt as the oscars. probably makes some creatives feel theyre closer to the film industry. cocks.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re on fire. You always on, but it’s all burning brighter today. Inspirational anger.

Comment by Billy Whizz

the end of my comments. you cant handle that much genius at once.

Comment by andy@cynic

Great post with great tips and a great commentary from Andy.

I find myself agreeing with everything you’ve both said, at least the bits that don’t involve slagging planning.

Comment by Pete

thats because youre too fucking into it to see the fucking truth.

Comment by andy@cynic

What Pete said, except the bit about planners.

Comment by DH

That’s the best bit of content to have come out from the BBC in years. Good post. Agree with all of it but the video references. They work because of how they’re delivered, not so much what is said. I would go so far as to state that if you were given the Al Pacino speech as copy, your first reaction would be to mock, rather than rave, but I appreciate the point you’re making and important, especially from planning perspectives.

Comment by George

look at george being mr fucking tough guy. and hes might even be fucking right. for once. at least where the pacino speech is concerned. the chrysler egofest would be good however you fucking saw it, but he wouldnt know that, hes only a planner.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well given we don’t have the chance to …

1. Go back in time.
2. See the Al Pacino speech in script form.

… I guess we’ll never know will we. Ha.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

Of course the most valuable lesson here is to write things that people will find interesting, not what you want them to find interesting.

Comment by Rob

I never watched the Chrysler ad because of Eminem. But I have to say it is pretty good. Though it has Eminem in it. By the way: Good morning.

Comment by seb

I love it because …

1. The script is awesome
2. The delivery is even more awesome.
3. It taps into a cultural [at least American] tension point between Detroit and the rest of the US.
4. If stands up for something and doesn’t shy away from it.
5. It doesn’t overuse Eminem.

But then I would say this wouldn’t I.

Now how the hell are you Seb?

Comment by Rob

The script is incredible. And I have to say that for some time now I haven’t read a tagline as good as “Imported from Detroit”. Stuff like that makes you jealous. Well at least until Eminem pops up.

I’m fine. My job helped me cutting my umbilical cord from the internet, friends and private life for quite some time now. But I’m planning to tie the know again. So far so bad, how are you?

Comment by seb

I was good, but I’m better now you’re potentially coming back into digital life. That might sound contrived, but it’s true.

God I am a sad, sentimental bastard aren’t I.

Comment by Rob

Seb – As good as the overall ad is, that endline is magnificent.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I agree with Pete. +1 for emotions, for they connect consumers to brands.

Comment by Carol L. Weinfeld

Yeah let’s keep this potentially as I already came back to digital life potentially a few times. But it is always a feeling of warmness. Now that sounds sad and sentimental, doesn’t it?

Comment by seb

I still love the 70s and 80s long copy print ads by CDP and BMP. The copy was almost always witty and invited you to read on once you got through the first couple of sentences.

They understood that a boring list of features or generic copy would be of no interest, so they set out to make the ads as interesting as the magazines or newspapers they appeared in; and they largely succeeded.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

hows that for awesome script, even more awesome delivery, culural tension point, not shying away, and not overusing eminem. short copy, but still tension, drama and emotion rather demotivating though

Comment by peggy

All very true, I’m just not convinced that anyone outside the industry reads it.

Comment by john

thats like saying no one reads anymore so all fucking publishers should shut up shop.

hate to credit campbell but in one of his rare fucking moments of lucidity he says it all.

people will read things they find interesting not things brands want them to find interesting so if you get it right, theyll even read stories about a 4 eyed twatty magician.

id even say that a long copy ad naturally fucking stands out from 99% of the usual picture/headline bollocks so for that alone its worth a fucking punt.

unless its shite.

Comment by andy@cynic

I was thinking more of the increasing tendency to skim. In that context, standing out arguably isn’t enough – you have to stand out and be accessible. I hate having to say that but I fear it’s true.

Comment by john

The football intro that’s quoted above works exactly because it’s not long copy.

Comment by john

for most ads these days, that football wank is like war and fucking peace. to put the planner children in an orgasmic state, answer this fucking question.

how many words does it take to become long copy.

keep the answer to yourfuckingself.

Comment by andy@cynic

Just enough that you think twice about reading it solely because it looks like it will take too long.

But you’re right.

Comment by john

Of course.

Comment by john

of fucking course.

Comment by andy@cynic

agree with it all. you have to get them to read it. as with all ads… editorial and long copy is a difference, but in appearance… it has to look interesting enough to start reading and be interesting enough to read on. or watch. not many people buy a magazine for the ads i guess… havent read the wispa ad. skipped that for later. will probably never happen then. thats due to my incredible attention span and having other things to do… now i have to think of branded entertainment. and gamification. signing out.

Comment by peggy

i would fuckin’ love to have read the al pacino monologue as text. and i would argue that it should read as kick-arse ‘copy’ because it’s a monologue. but then again, why get al pacino to read it, if it could be ready by any fuckin’ schmo.

i have found a new love of eminem, but even i would have just left him silent and in the car. and why the fuck did they go into the theatre? ridiculous. but that early voiceover stuff was OK.

but, you know, if ads are the lowest form of advertising and a waste of a campaign, why the hell do you need long copy anyway? 😉

Comment by lauren

[…] they will continue doing what they always have been doing, which is: making great cars. And like Rob Campbell says, this ad is the living proof that long copy does not mean boring copy [and NO, I’m not sucking […]

Pingback by Story-Telling « Confessions of an Almost Mad Man

Leave a Reply