The Importance of Great Copy

Avatar Jim Macdonald
October 22, 2015
It’s interesting how some people feel that writing has become a “lost art” as a result of texting, Twitter, and other tools that allow us to absorb content in small, bite-sized morsels. I don't necessarily agree with that. Throughout history there have been great writers - Steinbeck, Cheever, Hemingway are some of my favorites. But these people are novelists, not advertising people. There have also been some really amazing copywriters who haven’t reached the “literary god” status, but possess just as much genius.
 
Good content writing for advertising and marketing is something completely different. Some of the best ad copy would make a great tweet because it conveys the message in a wonderfully simple statement. Granted, there is often accompanying imagery, but not always.
 
Porsche understands priorities:
If you could choose between world peace and a Porsche 911
 
The University of Oxford isn’t afraid of making an example of a legend:
To be, or not to be?
 
321 East Steakhouse puts its money where its mouth is:
321 Steakhouse

Each of the examples employs ingenious copy and a simple logo. They are memorable, and perhaps more importantly, they are shareable on social media. Can anyone say viral?

Then there are those times when a simple image along with some straightforward copy says it all…
 
Obviously, this guy is a beer guy:
Smells like you're an idiot
 
Speaking of guy stuff, this copy is for the guy while the product is for his girl:
De Beers Diamonds
 
Then there’s always genius disguising itself as stupidity:
Garage Hard Lemonade

The one thing all these ads have in common is great, succinct writing.

When you look at ads like this, it’s easy to imagine someone sitting at their desk knocking these off, one after the other. Perhaps, but my guess is that each one was crafted over time with a lot of consideration to choose just the right words. Seems easy, but it’s not.

The people who write these ads have a talent that great novelists never will. They draw us in, make us feel something, and pull that feeling out of us… All in one sentence.  That single line of copy is the ultimate short story. Does it make you want to attend Oxford, buy a Porsche, grab a hard lemonade, or inspire you in any way? If so, then my job here is done.
 
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