Friday, 12 April 2013

Crap copy of the week


Some cars are built to look good, others are designed for performance. XXXXXs are designed to do both. When it comes to driving pleasure, you’ll find this in our DNA. Every bolt, every nut, every decision has been made to deliver the ultimate experience. It’s not just what XXXXXs are made of, it’s what they’re made from. It’s built from passion, belief and determination to deliver the XXXXX. It’s the only thing we won’t be moved on. Find out more at XXXXXX or visit your local dealer to experience it for yourself.

Remember when car ads had loads of great copy that told you everything about the car and really moved you to book a test drive? Or they had an absolute killer headline that had exactly the same effect, and just a phone number so you could book that test drive?

Well this ad has neither.

Now I know it’s all about short copy and nobody reads long copy any more. But surely the trend isn’t towards terrible short copy.

Take the headline. (I wish you would.)

This car is DESIGNED TO MOVE. Well that’s quite handy when you need to get the kids to school. Or when your boss would like you to come in and perform a few little taskettes.

So let’s move on to the body copy. Or, as I’d like to call it, a stream of non-sequiturs which have been thrown together in no particular order.

Take the first two sentences. This car is designed to look good. OK, a bit basic and hardly the stuff to stir your soul, stiffen your sinews and make you book that test drive. But it’s also designed to ‘do’ performance. Say what?

When it comes to driving pleasure, you’ll find this in our DNA.

This sentence bears no relation to the proceeding one, and if it did, shouldn’t it be ‘these’ and not ‘this’?

It’s not just what XXXXXs are made of, it’s what they’re made from.

Aren’t these the same thing?

This is followed straight away with, It’s built from…’ Shouldn’t this be ‘They’re built with…’

We also have two uses of ‘deliver’ in three sentences. Not only repetition which is plain bad writing, but ‘deliver’ is one of those ubiquitous verbs which is used everywhere by lazy writers – which is why it’s ubiquitous. ‘Access’ is another.

Deliver is what lorries and vans do. And social services these days. Not cars.

Above all, the ad has no specifics. How was it made? Is anything new? What are the innovations? How does it perform? What are the gadgets? How big’s the boot? What’s the upholstery? What’s the MPG? Why does it look good? Most important of all, how do your passion, belief and determination infuse your whole design, development and manufacturing process? See. They’re specifics.

So what’s the car which has been barely touched in on this copy? Stand up and take the applause BMW. But you probably already guessed that.

Now, I’m not just moaning for the sake of moaning. These are great cars and they deserve great advertising. Or at least, advertising from people who know how to do it.

Like this:

Or this:

As I said at the start, you can either go this way. Or have a killer headline and just a call to action. 
Like this:

 Or this:

Or even this:

But not like this:

I must apologise here. The ad is a DPS but I couldn’t fit the other half on my scanner. It’s just a load of whoosh lines, so this is actually the better half.


  1. Thank you for sharing this and the discussion you are leading that is taking place as a result on LinkedIn

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with your deconstruction of this lazy, poorly-written copy - especially when contrasted with those great ads from the BMW archive. I would add one more observation: their use of the phrase "in our DNA". This may have sounded original a decade or so ago, but it has now become nothing more than an over-used piece of business-speak. All-in-all, a terrible ad!

  3. Even more worrying when the ad is for a M-class BMW! "You might need some spare pants" would be better...