18th August 2019

When your Marketing copy is not good

When your Marketing copy is not good


When marketing campaigns fail because the copy missed the mark, it’s good to pull things apart and try to understand what went wrong. Not all failures have to be precisely that. We can always learn from our mistakes if we take the time to analyse why they did not achieve the desired outcome. Here are a few examples when the marketing copy is not good:

Steer clear of misconstrued messages

Sometimes brands produce a copy with a message that appears unclear and confusing to the reader. If your ad is not concise and straightforward, you might be open to a wrong meaning or interpretation by your audience. To exercise as much control as possible over your brand’s image and reputation, make sure your copy is in no way ambiguous.

Let’s take the wine brand I Heart Wines, as an example. 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 (…) But you know. Not every day. Obvs.” The first impression would be 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. But if we looked from another angle, it could be perceived as an anti-drinking poster — precisely the opposite goal of the brand, which is to sell wine.


I heart wines ad - London tube


Avoid meaningless slogans and phrases.

Too often in a quest to create something short, concise and straightforward, brands end up producing a bland and meaningless slogan. Over the years many of the greatest tag-lines have been so simple. But that doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve. Nike’s iconic Just Do It is a case in point. This line, however, fits perfectly with the brands pioneering spirit that celebrates individualism.

A line used by other brands is less effective if it doesn’t fit with its established image. Lexus used the line Experience Amazing in its most recent campaign. We can take that as the “amazing experience” of driving one of their cars, but it seems more like two random words together. It lacks meaning and emotion.


Lexus - Amazing Experience


Avoid Jargon

Always simplify your message and onsite content. The internet is littered with About Us pages, that include massive, convoluted jargon, that does little to help the consumer understand and appreciate what the product or service is all about. Avoid technical terms or complicated explanation for things that can be said more commonly.

In conclusion, when it comes to bad copy, there are prominent examples. Ambiguous messaging, meaningless phrases and jargon-heavy rhetoric all serve to restrict the impact and effectiveness of your communications. The advice is simple: deliver a copy that enables your consumers to understand your brand’s ethos and encourage them to buy your products.



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