I was chatting with a couple of friends, all of us are either copy writers or graphic designers…or both….in the advertising industry, so, naturally, our conversations leaned towards the topic. This one particular friend who works in an American advertising firm is now an Art Director, so, needless to say, he considers himself a notch higher than us mere freelancers and employees. After all, he is the one person who decides on the direction of a whole advertising campaign. He is also in-charge of a couple of large International brands of products. And during this conversation, he told me about this story that inspired me. He says that branding is so important to a product that it can either make or break a product…or even the company.
For instance, he was trying to come up with something unique for a particular brand of body wash (he thought the smell was awful because it smelt like mud…wet and totally disgusting). Guess what he did? He went the NATURAL WAY……
Obviously, it worked wonders for the product! He came up with headlines like
“So natural, you’d roll around in it”
“Just like a second skin”
“Go back to nature”
…and the likes.
I was impressed. So happens that he brings back a lot of samples of products each time he comes back to Malaysia and this time he had the said product handy to show us – to although I didn’t think it was disgusting (he has a way with words, shall I say?”), it wasn’t your conventional bath wash. It sure didn’t smell like anything else I can get here in supermarkets.
Joe, my friend from America, said that he steered the product in the realm of conservation of the environment, going natural, using natural products, natural cleansing properties…. etc and it worked wonderfully. When combined with a superb design and ad, the product sold like nothing else he had known! This was the product he thought smelt like mud, remember? And with good direction, copy and design, the product is as good as sold.
The theory is that, people’s mind accepts what they want to accept. Let me give you some examples of beautiful copy work for International brands.
“milk bath” – Johnson and Johnson. Sounds simple enough? But accordingly, many people bought the products, not because it was superb or any better than all the other Johnson and Johnson products or bath gels, it was because the ‘milk bath’ copy suggested that whenever you use the product, you’d be bathing in milk, pampering yourself, making your skin whiter and smoother. Asians will buy anything that you say can turn their skin white.
“Not perfumed, Not coloured. Just kind” – Simple.
This is a very unique stance taken by a skincare company because Simple is the first brand that suggested that you don’t need anything extra have superb skin. Simple is…. well, simple, but it gives you good skin because it doesn’t make your skin look worse.
“Against animal testing” – The Body Shop.
The products being sold by The Body Shop, without a doubt, is produced without being tested on animals. This, they claim, is because the properties used to produce their products is very natural. I think placing the words “AGAINST ANIMAL TESTING” in bolded letters in all of their labels is a good idea. Anyone who loves natural products and are animal lovers will definitely stay true to The Body Shop.
“The beer only a true man knows how to appreciate”
This is a tagline being used by a well-known beer company. I am not certain of the exact words being used, therefore, I decline to name the brand and beer type. Anyway, this tagline suggests that if you’re a man at all, you’ll like this beer…. . and if you don’t, you’re not a TRUE man. I am a woman and I like the beer because of its richness in taste but I absolutely object to their tagline. I suppose they have their reasons. Their target market were mostly men and if they were women who drink, they will let the tagline slide because they like the beer so much.
So, you see, the kind of branding, the kind of tagline and headlines that you use determines the direction of your product. If you use a tagline like ‘lustrous long hair”…. don’t expect a lot of male customers who takes you up on your offer. So, decide on a tagline once and for all for each and every one of your products, take them very seriously and if you can’t think of anything, hire someone to do the thinking for you. Branding and copy writing is SO IMPORTANT that you’d rather pay for it than be stuck with one that gives out mixed messages.
Marsha Maung is a freelance graphic designer and writer who has been working from her home in Selangor, Malaysia the past 6 years. She is also the author of “Raising Little Magicians", “No products to sell" and the popular “The Lance in Freelancing" and other books. For more information, please visit http://www.marshamaung.com and for more info on her books, please visit http://www.lulu.com/marshamaung