Archives for posts with tag: copywriting

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



When I land on 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, 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‘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.



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 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 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.


The key is to always pull people into the ad, “Get them hooked” as they say. By pulling them in and engaged you have their attention to make your pitch. This ad from Samsung does exactly that. At first it is intriguing, then you wanna see what happens and then the USP is subtly and cleverly introduced. After that it is all entertainment, like a reward for the viewer for sticking it out, and to encourage them to share it with their friends because they know they’ll get the same rise out of it as they did.

This gem of advertising can barely be called an ad. There is no product being sold. No agenda. No persuasion of any kind. The message is simple, direct and honest. Todd Helton, a first-baseman of the Colorado Rockies, bought this print ad in the Denver Post on the last day of the regular season. The Colorado Rockies had not much to celebrate. They missed the playoffs again, and one of their fan-favourite players was retiring: Todd Helton.

Helton has been a mainstay in Colorado. His entire career has been played in the mile high state. He took out this ad to demonstrate his appreciation to his fans. What I like about this is that there is no agenda. Such a simple idea that we should see more of in our world. Sure most of these statements are made publicly in front of journalists and cameras (and Helton is no exception) but the permanence and thought of the gesture of a full-page print ad shows class and respect that Helton most definitely has for his fans.


…copywriting of course.

I stumbled across this gem while on YouTube. It’s selling the oddest product, but with some great writing it makes a splash. The second video is the now infamous Dollar Shave Club.

Although these aren’t the 1/2 hour infomercials that grace cable’s airwaves in the middle of the day. They are very similar containing product demos and a strong pitch to drive you to click on through to the check out.

As always its about the relationship, fostering it, caring for it – like a child – if you constantly make your presence known they’ll resent you for it and want you out of their lives. So use a light touch so that each time they see you it is a enjoyable one.


Criticism sucks. As do the hours and constantly redoing things. Which begs the question: how did I end up here?

It all started by me paying attention during commercials. When every one else would be paying attention something else when the ads would come on, I didn’t. My younger self would wait for them when the break would come on. Like how one would wait, fingers crossed, for the DJ to play their latest favorite song on the radio. I would wait for my latest favorite ad.

And that’s exactly why we do the things we do, because we want to become what impresses us the most. So bring on the criticism and long hours, because I want to make something that will impress people the way these ads did:

Oh the beloved #. It is actually called an octothorp, by the way. I’m not sure where hashtag comes from. Although a quick read of wikipedia will tell you.

Mainly associated with Twitter, it is found on several sites. Most notably Tumblr and Facebook. It is useful for sorting information. For example the best uses of this come from sports leagues. I was watching the MLB All-Star game this week and all I had to do was follow #asg and I had all the intel I needed to know.

Apparently there was a guy who dared Twitter people (or I guess they’d be called Tweeters? Or Twitterers?) that if they re-tweeted his tweet 1000 times he would run out onto the field. The only way anyone who wasn’t at the game knew about this was via Twitter #asg. A whole new dialogue came out of this experience. Pictures from fans made their way on the social network.


Furthermore the better brand uses of the hashtag (because this is a blog about advertising) was during the Home Run Derby the day before. Fans could follow the players involved in the derby, or the other players/journalists who were at the event. MLB provided fans clips of interviews with the players about the events that were taking place.

Both these examples, planned and unplanned, brought the experience closer to the viewer, hundreds of miles away. Twitter has always been seen as a conversation medium, and people generally do. Twitter, or better yet the hashtag, are ways of organizing and finding information on a mass medium that is over saturated with content.

This is important to note because people generally won’t adopt a hashtag just because a brand tells them to. They do it because they want what ever it is that they are writing to be read. If there is an event going on like an All-Star game. Then by MLB promoting #asg is a good idea. It encourages people to use the # and get involved with MLB.


As tablets take over the world, their capacity to challenge the desktop & laptop for supremacy is widely debated. In many ways tablets are a cheap and easy to use. For those folks who only want to check their emails and post status updates, a tablet is perfect. It even works well if you need a half-decent word processor, and there are no shortage of them.

What I would like to bring up is the changing use of design software. There are several apps that use photoshop-esque techniques. Which in turn make it so one could alter the colours and filters of a photo while sitting on the sofa with their feet up. These techniques would take a skilled designer the better part of an hour to try out several effects. Now changing effects comes at the swipe of a finger. There are also several other apps that incorporate other aspects of graphic design. Adobe has a series of mobile apps that tap into every aspect of design, web or graphic. This change gives everyone the ability to become a graphic designer. With more people using these tools to alter their photos several things are happening.

One is that the use of filters is quickly becoming the norm and annoying. I hate sepia.

Another is that the bar is being raised quickly. What used to be able to get you a job (a snazzy portfolio) is not the norm anymore. Although the industry is adapting, it is taking a while. Soon knowing how to do something is not going to be the case anymore, because everyone will know how to do it. For example, I know how to string a few sentences together, does that make me a copywriter? What the industry will soon be calling for are people who have an understanding. Creatives will not just need to be able to come up with witty headlines and fancy graphics, but strategy and understanding of our dear friends marketing & business.

I’m optimistic that this will raise the level of advertising, and in turn make it more strategic and successful. This will benefit both advertisers and the audience. I’m excited that my career is beginning as this trend is.


A screenshot of Adobe Ideas

Pixlr-express-effectA screenshot of Pixlr Express

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.



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.

2 3

I was watching YouTube today. As per-usual there was an ad before the video started. Normally (like everyone else) I sit through waiting for the first chance to skip it. But instead I used that time to text a friend and sat through until the end. The ad was for MiO Sport. At the end they intrigued me with “secret videos”.


As you can guess I clicked on the secret videos. The idea was that I had to watch the commercial again and find secret videos hidden in the ad. It was simple. They used the annotations that YouTube channels use to link to additional material. In this case when you clicked on a certain thing the secret video you find is an extension of that theme. So when he shoots the paper ball into the garbage can, you can click on him and find a hidden video of him competing with some one else for a glass of MiO.

This is a brilliant creative use of YouTube. It gets the viewer to go through the commercial over and over trying to find secret videos. It’s like every client’s fantasy.

Take a look, and have fun trying to find those secret videos.

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