Archives for posts with tag: copy

The season of travel is revving up, and the hotel booking websites are fighting it out for our dollars. Our challengers are: Booking.com, Trivago, and Hotels.com. As I’ve caught most of these ads on my TV lately I decided to compare them to see which one I like best.

 

BOOKING.COM

When I land on Booking.com I’m greeted (or yelled at) by a schmörgesborg of things to click on. No organization, well some actually. But let’s think about this, if I’m not savvy with surfing the World Wide Web would I really know what to click on? There is a box in the left corner of the screen that allows me to enter my details, which is good, well… it’s the status quo for any site like this. But the rest of the home page is boring and seemingly unorganized. There is also nothing about the website that excites me to book with them, or even travel in general. In fact there is not even one high quality scenic picture to salivate my travelling appetite. Although when you get into the thick of their website it does have a lot of information.

Now onto the ads, Booking.com is going for a younger market or at least young at heart. The first ad clearly uses “Booking” as a substitute for everyone’s (or most people’s) favourite F-word. The first time I hear it, I laugh, the next time a little… and then on the 6th time it’s over done. Way over done. The rest of the ad is great too. I love the insight that you picked right. That dilemma we all face “will this hotel live up to my expectations” is what every traveller faces, and it’s why we love hotel chains so much: we know what to expect. The copy is great, but I feel that the epic-ness that comes from the announcer gets tiresome. It’s too much. I’m trying to book a hotel, I’m not about to make a big speech to my rag-tag team as we’re about to try and save the world from aliens. Deep down the ad conveys a great insight that would make me want to book with them, but it’s lost with all the theatrics.

 

TRIVAGO

Trivago‘s website is simple. Like Google simple. It’s just a search bar. Nothing complex. I like that. But I also would like some travel-porn. Some shots of beautiful scenery, or a sandy beach. Get me excited Trivago. Sadly that’s their downfall. They’re boring. Which is kinda good. I would trust them more. But they seem too boring, so even though I may trust them more, I may not remember them because my mind will be distracted when their ad comes on. Their one key selling-point is never creatively addressed in their advertising. They promote how you can pick from several different sites. So whoever offers you the best price wins. So why not exploit that? It pains me to see a great insight that is communicated in an uninspired way. I feel like it’s a training video, and those are never exciting.

 

HOTELS.COM

Mascots annoy me. Why does every company feel they need a mascot? However, Captain Obvious is not bad. I can see a lot of ads coming out of this, but Hotels.com has to be careful to not make me hate him. Use him sparingly and not in ways that will make me not want to visit your site. Speaking of their website, I like it (Pay attention Trivago and especially you Booking.com). I’m greeted by the Captain, and some travel-porn. Wow! 3 websites and only 1 actually puts up a picture of where I want to go. I realize stock photo sites aren’t cheap, but come on. The site is simple and has only the necessary details. This one has found a nice balance.

Their ads are great. They’re not boring, and they don’t repeat the same punchline over and over until it’s not funny anymore. Their jokes are great, and fit within the narrative. They’re set up with out me seeing them coming. Everything that was on the brief is addressed in a clever way. And in the end I walk away liking what I experienced.

No its not Ogilvy or Bernbach. There actually is a patron saint of advertising. Saint Bernardino of Siena, aka St. Bernardine.

Yep, this former catholic priest hailing from 15th century Italy is the patron saint of advertising. As well as communications (which makes sense), gambling and respiratory problems. I’m not sure how the previous two fit into the mix.

What is interesting about St Bernardino is that he was around at a time when print was becoming very popular in Europe. It was becoming more accessible to more people. Since he was a well known preacher at the time his image was represented on several documents and works of art. This is most likely what lead him to becoming the patron saint of advertising. So this really is just a classic story of being in the right place at the right time. Then again he did help a lot of people… which explains the Saint status.

Curiously enough there is also an ad agency in Vancouver that carries the name Saint Bernardine.

If you wanna learn more about this lad check out the source of all knowledge: wikipedia. Sorry Google.

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Feedback is always a good thing right? Having your ideas tested always makes better work, and a more anxious writer too. It is always when working by yourself that your mind slips into a self-described fantasy that rationalizes all the fine details that a skilled eye will easily point out.

So, how to break out from this fantastical perspective? Get opinions of course.

Yet, what if the work isn’t quite at that point to be reviewed? Leo Burnett has published this app (for Android, I’m not sure about iPhone) called HumanKind. It uses a scale that Leo Burnett has developed which measures how effective an idea is. Now since it is only an app you have to use your discretion.

I would say to just keep the idea focused. Guidance is key, this app helps, but you’re the writer in the end. Write it the way it needs to be written – then get feedback.

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Writing is a process. Duh, I figured I’d point out the most obvious thing first. But bear with me.

Ideas don’t come to you. They are made, like people. When two ideas love each other very very much they decide that they would like another idea to come into this world. So they make a new idea. And that my fellow reader is how ideas are made. They are combinations of ideas merged together in different ways (like cooking for example) to create ‘unique’ things.

But that word ‘unique’ is a curious word. Also its cousin ‘originality’ is worse. Both words (according to the dictionary on my computer) mean “the first of its kind”. That obviously flies in the face of my definition of ideas. So I’ll defend: ideas cannot exist as something unique or original, they have to have precedent. If an idea was to truly exist on its own as something unique, then no one would understand it because we need the precedent knowledge to understand it, and create it for that matter (hope that makes sense).

So, no idea can exist by itself. It needs to come from somewhere, and have other ideas preceding it. Consider a laptop for example. It is a keyboard merged with a computer and then merged with a TV screen. It could have never existed without the previous inventions existing before it.

I bring this up because ideas don’t come to you. They are created. Also if you are trying to create something orignal or unique that “no one has ever seen before” good luck, but I doubt it’ll happen. Don’t think that I’m claiming to set the bar low, instead think of it as being realistic, literally.

How to create comes from being a mad (mental) scientist. Instead of chemicals you have ideas, merge them shape them differently and take them into unfamiliar places. That will make them seemingly ‘unique’.

As far as how you write, or how to learn how to write. No one can teach you that. You have to learn what works for you. Some work better writing in public areas, some in private places. Some (like me) work better talking to other people to spark the imagination, others like to read or be by themselves. There is no wrong way, the right way for you is your own way. So when ever someone gives you advice on how to write best, I’d say listen and be polite you may learn something, but if it won’t work for your process then it won’t work.

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The book cleverly titled The Copy Book published by D&AD is a great resource. It has an extensive list of copywriters who have their work profiled and talk about their writing processes. The book itself is large in size, and inspirational for any writer. By reading all about the writer’s process then viewing their work, it gives you an interesting insight into how they do what they do.

As a young writer I’ve found that by reading and studying the approaches and processes of writers (copy or otherwise) I have a better understanding on how to deal with and approach new challenges. Seeing as how every new project is different; your process in many ways won’t be consistent throughout. Being able to adapt your writing as needed to each new project and each medium in my opinion is key for any writer.

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