27th November 2018

Bad Marketing Copy- There’s a Lot We Can Learn.

Bad Marketing Copy- There’s a Lot We Can Learn.


Not all failures have to be exactly that. We can always learn from our mistakes if we take the time to take stock of our actions and analyse why they fell flat and did not achieve the desired outcome. That’s why when marketing campaigns fail because the copy missed the mark, it’s good to pull things apart and try to decipher what went wrong. Here are a few examples of ineffective copy, which we must avoid if we want our campaigns to be a success.

Steer clear of misconstrued messages

Sometimes brands produce copy with a message that appears unclear and confusing to the reader. This should be avoided at all costs. You never know what meaning consumers might derive from your copy and what message you are sending out if the wording of your ads isn’t completely clear. To exercise as much control as possible over your brand’s image and reputation, make sure your copy is in no way ambiguous or open to interpretation. This was not the case with wine brand I Heart Wines. A tube campaign saw them release an ad which read; “Not every day, you understand. Not all the time. Just sometimes. You know. In moderation. As a treat. Maybe after work. With a bite to eat. While gossiping with the girls. Or just watching the telly. Also on hols. Sometimes at the weekend. But you know. Not every day. Obvs.” This on the first inspection seems like a tongue in cheek nod to the fact that many of us enjoy a tipple in a range of circumstances and probably slightly more often than we should. However, looked at from another angle it could be perceived as an anti-drinking poster, pointing out the fact that we don’t realise that we’re drinking dangerously high amounts. It comes off in this sense as dark and unsettling and the last thing it achieves is encouraging the reader to buy the product.

Avoid meaningless slogans and phrases

Avoid creating copy that is meaningless. Too often in a quest to create something short, succinct and simple, brands end up producing a bland and meaningless slogan that falls completely flat and is devoid of impact. Over the years many of the greatest tag-lines have been so simple it’s infuriating. Genius is often so simple that it baffles us that no one came up with it before. Nike’s iconic Just Do It is a case in point. This line, however, fits perfectly with the brands pioneering spirit that celebrates individualism and the get-up and go spirit of great athletes. A line that simple used by other brands is less effective if it doesn’t fit with the established image of the brand in question. Lexus used the line Experience Amazing in its most recent campaign. This, however, fell flat, as it appeared to the consumer like meaningless rhetoric. It came across as just two random words superimposed onto an image of a luxury car, that isn’t particularly associated first and foremost with amazing experiences.
Avoid Jargon

Always, always simplify your message and onsite content. The internet is littered with About Us pages, that include heavy, convoluted jargon, that does little to help the consumer understand and appreciate what the product or service is all about. Brands often use industry terms to discuss their work, which are completely lost on the average Joe. This only ever results in drop off rates and a lack of overall interest from consumers.
In conclusion, when it comes to bad copy, there are obvious examples. Ambiguous messaging, meaningless phrases and jargon-heavy rhetoric all serve to restrict the impact and effectiveness of your brand’s communications. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can deliver copy which will enable your consumers to understand fully your brand’s ethos and ultimately encourage them to purchase your products.


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