Long Copy: Alive or Dead?


This is something like the impression that advertising creatives hope to convey when they create an ad. Jolting, impressionable, and direct, something that triggers a consumer’s mind to take that extra second and switch gears to actually consider what they’re seeing. Many ads focus on the visual impact of an ad. Fearing the lack of reading interest, the copy is kept short, often only a headline or two and a quippy tagline. But since this has become the popular and almost mainstream style of advertising, does an ad really have the power to differentiate itself from everything else around it?

What about long copy? Is it worth the time to write it? It most definitely is. Whether every word is read or just the tagline, long copy can be used to make an advertisement stand out. Pete Barry’s quotation of Luke Sullivan from his book The Advertising Concept reinforces this idea: “Even if a customer doesn’t read every word, it looks like the company has a lot to say.” Long copy allows advertiser’s to tell consumers more about the proposed product and if it’s engaging enough, also allows advertisers to draw consumer’s focus and attention for a longer period of time, a successful result when most average consumers see nearly 5,000 ads a day.

Effective long copy ads express an idea or thought that is shared by the reader and is important to the reader’s individual self. People do like to read and enjoy editorial copy for that reason, so structuring advertising in a similar way helps make the message more readable and real. The Jack Daniels London Underground Tube advertisements are freuqently long copy ads, interesting and structured like a newspaper article with headlines and body paragraphs. Acknowledging commuters unavoidable time spent waiting for the next train, the advertisment effectively combines visuals with catchy copy. During my time abroad in London and the many hours spent in the Underground, I learned more about Jack Daniels than I ever thought I would and can attest to its impressionable nature. Is long copy alive or dead? Oh, it’s alive all right. Alive and kickin’.

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Social Media Done Right: Ford’s Fiesta Campaign

Ford Fiesta

For The Newhouse Eric Mower Advertising Forum’s first spring event, Matt VanDyke, Director of Marketing Communications at Ford in the U.S., brought to life a presentation entitled “Breaking Out of the Box.” After quickly detailing Ford’s recent history in the automotive industry and its future plans, VanDyke explained the company’s thriving marketing efforts in traditional and non-traditional arenas, including print, TV, and radio as well as within the erupting digital arena.

In an effort to revive the automobile manufacturer after the hard-hitting 2008 recession, VanDyke and the Ford Marketing team focused on a single mission: to improve consumer opinion and consideration of Ford in comparison to its U.S. competition. Four main automobile qualities were found to interest consumers the most: Quality, safety, green operating ability/fuel economy, and technology. Ford built on these interests, developing a campaign centered on engaging the consumer in order to create an open conversation, not merely the one-way dialogue produced by the usual mass television and print advertisements.

Uniting the company’s marketing teams across the globe, Ford narrowed the number of different platforms or messages presented to the public. A constant stream of communication allowed teams in every country and continent to measure the success or failure of inventive social media marketing strategies presented in a test country. By employing interested consumers to become “agents,” Ford reintroduced their Fiesta model to the U.S.; allowing consumers to test drive the car for 6 months and in return to post a minimum of 6 responses to an online site. An overwhelming response of “agent” applicants as well as videos/posts from the chosen applicants led to an explosion of online attention from consumers and media outlets. With a 56% vehicle familiarity before the Ford Fiesta was even officially launched, the campaign was labeled a success and propelled Ford to be named one of the Top 10 social media brands by Ad Age.

Extending the success of the Fiesta campaign, Ford has begun a similar effort for the Ford Focus entitled the Ford Focus Rally. Instead of spending money on traditional media when the cars first roll onto dealer lots, Ford has developed a Pre-Launch, Launch, and Post-Launch method of advertising, a combination of social media and traditional advertising used to enact the fullest potential of consumer interaction and response.

VanDyke’s clear and concise presentation of Ford’s inspiring work was well worth the time. For someone who knows very little about cars, I now, as a consumer, feel very informed and empowered. Ford’s strategy of putting the consumer’s interests first isn’t revolutionary, but the way the company went about proving their intentions was ingenious. The Ford Marketing Communications team was named Ad Age’s 2010 Marketer of the Year, a well-deserved honor for incredible work that has certainly raised the bar.

The Ultimate Ad Arena: Superbowl XLV

After months of hype,  previews, and rate runaround, advertising’s main stage was set for a competition like no other: the annual Superbowl. Commercials from the traditional advertisers such as Bud Light, E*Trade, Coca Cola, Doritos, Pepsi, GoDaddy.com, and various automobile companies proved that the use of humor is still alive and well in television sports-related advertising. But one unique commercial caught my attention and separated itself from the rest.

Chrysler’s Imported From Detroit commercial was serious, thought-provoking, relevant to current events, real, engaging, upfront, and honest. After seeing countless commercials, all created in a similar manner, touting similar car benefits, Chrysler recognized its reputation as a leading US auto manufacturer, located in the plagued city of Detroit. Despite the city’s deteriorating and economically distraught rep, Chrysler took these negative connotations and turned them positive, attributing hard work, perseverance, and sincerity to the city’s incomparable strength and character. With the inclusion of Eminem and his Academy Award winning song “Lose Yourself” in the commercial, viewers drew on the powerful messages sent through the film 8 Mile and associated them with Chrysler’s inspired mission, creating luxury vehicles with determination and conviction.

One of my favorite lines of copy from the ad:

“We’re from America, but this isn’t New York City, or The Windy City, or Sin City, and we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City. This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”

Take a look:

Another set of commercials from a different advertiser grabbed my attention, but for a different reason. The Groupon commercials with Elizabeth Hurley and Timothy Hutton were confusing and a little offensive. Playing on the popular use of commercial advertising to draw empathy and financial donations for charitable causes, the Groupon commercials suggested that though the Tibetan culture and the Brazilian rain forest are in danger, it doesn’t matter since the consumer saved money on a meal at a Tibetan restaurant in Chicago or a bikini waxing at a NYC spa. In this way, Groupon’s first national television commercials portray their customers as selfish, conceited, and self-centered. Some viewers may have seen the unexpected plot switch of both commercials as funny, but I was left more confused than amused.

Take a look:



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Good Ad, Bad Ad

For our first assignment, we have been asked to look at the print ads posted on Ads of the World (http://adsoftheworld.com) and discuss one ad that was good in its execution and one that was lacking.

I came across this ad in a set created by the Serviceplan agency in Munich, Germany for Lego toys. The amusing photo with an aged tint recreates a living room scene from the 1980s. The accuracy of the room decoration and the clothing worn immediately transports the viewer back to their own 1980s living room and the hours spent on the floor building with Lego blocks.

Baffled and somewhat confused by their son’s Lego creation, the parents look on in amazement and with curiosity. The ad’s tagline, “Builders of Tomorrow” matches the scene perfectly as the young boy continues to enjoy building his wind turbine model despite his parents’ bemusement. The ad clearly displays the product, the positive emotion received from direct use of the product, and the limitless possibilities available. The Lego brand logo is subtly, yet effectively included in the ad.

I was very confused when I first saw this ad for Ford by Bronx, Curitiba, Brazil. The Ford label and small image of the promoted car are clear, but seemed disconnected in relation to the larger picture. After studying the picture and finding no hidden details in the image besides the tracks made in the dirt, I concluded that the ad is trying to say something about the Satellite Tracking Feature, but I’m not sure what. The copy, “New Ford Focus With Satellite Tracking Feature,” does not do enough to communicate the purpose of the ad or the reason this image of a street was chosen.

Boring, frustrating, and difficult, this Ford Focus ad misses the mark in almost all senses. The street image may be attractive, but its relation to purchasing a Ford Focus and its conveyance of the satellite tracking feature is unapparent

About Me

Hi! My name is Megan and I’m a junior advertising major at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. I am fascinated by advertisements of all media, they reasoning behind them and the way in which they are assembled to be presented to a selected audience.

I’m also an art history minor and am studying under the Fashion and Beauty Communications Milestone. This blog was established for a class I am taking concerning the complex, creative process of advertising development. I am hoping to gain some insight into creative thinking and a better knowledge of the ads that successfully convey their intended meaning and purpose.