Copywriting clients who weren’t afraid to try something bold
October 16, 2015 • Glenn Murray
Most of my clients want conversational copy. They’re happy with contractions, incomplete sentences and sentences that start with conjunctions. That sort of thing. They know it’s all about keeping the reader reading.
But very few are prepared to take the next step. To say, “fuck it, I’m gonna make a real statement here!”
(Not necessarily by swearing, of course. In fact, I’d rarely recommend that. Nor would I use slang like “gonna” very often. I did both here only to make a point… If you’re going to make a real statement, you need to throw caution to the wind. Be smart, be strategic, be relevant, but don’t be scared.)
So when a client sends me a ‘fuck it’ brief, I get excited. Not just because it’s unusual, and change is as good as a holiday, but because it’s fun. It’s creative and challenging and far more rewarding. And I feel like I’m making a much bigger contribution to their business than usual.
Here are a few examples of copy I’ve written for clients who weren’t afraid to try to something different. (Click to zoom.)
Calling on cultural capital
Anna Roe and Co wanted some standout copy for one of the flagship products – a leather overnight bag for men. Here’s what I wrote for them:
Adventure and the senses
Fast-food chain, Sabbaba, wanted a menu intro that launched readers on a journey, and reflected the nature of their food…
Saying it how it is
The owner of Connected Resourcing told me he’s not your typical recruitment agent. Said he’s more an old-school headhunter. He was after something fairly vanilla, but when I recommended he cut to the chase, he was nervous but excited, and decided to go for it. Here’s the start of the home page I wireframed for him (currently in development):
Simple and succinct
Yast is a simple project timer. They wanted copy that signalled that simplicity, and they were more than happy with the colloquial approach.
You firkin what?
Unfortunately I didn’t come up with the name of this product, but it was a lot of fun conceiving ad concepts and headlines (just a mockup – not their bottles either). They used the word “euphemism” in the brief, and as Kate Toon will tell you, I don’t need to be asked twice! 😉
A bit of fun alien sex
If a firkin isn’t racy enough for you, try this on for size. (Maybe not literally.) It’s a sex-toy for men with a sense of humour (as pictured in the feature image above) and the unsubtle, very NSFW copy implicitly acknowledges its ridiculous nature.
And some jealous aliens who missed out?
Twenty2 Digital went with an aliens theme on their website, and they wanted some light-hearted copy to support it…
The boldest of the lot
Now although this one isn’t racy and it doesn’t swear, it’s actually riskier than all of the above. Not only does it use humour (always a risk), but it’s also rude to the reader. Tongue in cheek, obviously, but still…
Had clients who wanted bold copy?
I’d love to hear your experiences with clients who wanted something a little unusual. Please comment…