The copywriting technique so powerful they banned it

Optimized-starsThere are moments when I could almost believe it myself.

Read on…

So there I was, a new UK copywriter’s head on the blog with an idea for a site by a copywriter for copywriters (oops there I go again). A splash of info for SEO copywriters, a dash of insight for web marketing copywriters. Manchester bound and looking to get the new websitup and running , wondering where to start.

So I wrote this…

Words that win business

Is your copy working hard enough?
Do your Google rankings attract enough visitors?
Are you converting enough visitors?
Are you sharing your messages clearly and effectively?

Time to make your website and your marketing copy more powerful, and more profitable?

Words that win business – BIG gap/tumbleweed – with UK Copywriting

Remember the old Fairy Liquid ad on TV with Nanette Newman and sweet pre botoxed Lesley Ash? That damn song. About 32 seconds in ……..All together now……. ‘hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face. With mild green Fairy Liquid.

Did it win any marketing awards? Maybe thousands, maybe none. I have no idea. It should have won awards though, it’s a killer head filler and it’s been around forever, bugging me since I was a kid and surely winning tons of Fairy Liquid sales ever since. Maybe I’m the only one who it’s stuck on or I’m just one of a handful of people afflicted. Like one of those ridiculously unlucky people who become allergic to water or air or something. I doubt it though as I rarely stray far from unextraordinary.

So why am I even taking about it? Well…. I’m a copywriter and I’m in the process of putting together a website as a point of focus for my SEO copywriting and marketing copywriting skills. I’ve bought the domain name (which I wrongly or rightly thought would be good because it contains the word copywriting), and have been playing with some ideas, some words and concepts for a home page.

I’ve been trying to nail copy that encapsulates the benefits of using UK copywriting (me) in as persuasive a way as possible. Trying to unlock a way of expressing the benefits of using ummm… me. Something that tells people what I do. That my freelance copywriting can win them visitors, customers, help retain them and make them money. All that jazz. Something persuasive but that wasn’t too salesy. Nothing too Harry Dash, too web marketing or too this.

Then again I didn’t want to come over all dry and corporate, nor too self effacing or humble. Lean, to the point, but sharing the message clearly. More Cluetrain Manifesto than holistic innovation solution corporate speak.

Meter Matching

So I came up with ‘words that win business’ as a strap line. Pithy, benefits clear, my role in the benefits clear – winner – and that’s where it all started, this descent into mildly obscene Fairy Liquidation.

You see it’s the meter, the scan, the rhythm, the pulse, the jive that made a horrific subconscious leap. And before I knew it there I was in Fairy Liquid land away humming a tune I didn’t know I hadn’t forgotten. Tragedy had struck.

I became intrigued with the concept of matching well known meters. Culturally engrained rhythms, patterns and timings, and whether they can help get new messages into people’s heads through familiarity. Especially with a little tone matching thrown in for good measure.

A kind of subliminal marketing tune bomb

It’s the kind of sick thing I do anyway, annoying people by interjecting a part of a song into any form of conversation, or argument or trip to the dentist cause I spot a hook and can’t resist it. Selfish, self centred boy brought up on pop bollox that most boys brought up on pop probably grow out of. It mutates and it extends.

We make the best ice-cream, natural and fresh ice-cream, the best ice-cream. So full of gorgeousness, lip smacking strawberryness, cold smooth deliciousness…………….. the best ice-cream.

Yeah… well.. anyway…

As with other typically topical thoughts I’ve had over the years, I thought, ‘whao! I’m going to lose kudos? I wondered whether I might have inadvertently stumbled across something other people have been doing under my nose for years? Is meter matching a commonly understood and applied marketing technique? A whole module in marketing school? Is there a weekly magazine or TV channel dedicated to it?

Naturally I Googled the term “meter matching”.

3080 returns and nothing relating to marketing. Then I Googled ‘”meter matching” copy writing’ – only 6! NOTHING relating to marketing!

I was holding out for a zero

I Googled ‘”meter matching” copywriting’ – Bingo! A BIG fat luscious ZERO. Maybe, just maybe for once I can say this is mine. Dare I believe ? Well yes. I’m going to allow myself that indulgence because…I’m indulgent. I’m also going to turn a blind eye to the possibility that a technique I have defined as ‘meter matching’ could be widely referred to by a completely different name. I’m also going to ignore the possibility that the concept might be absolutely 100% rubbish; so bent as an idea, that I’m the only person in the world who makes the meter match connections and that even if other people made the matches they add nothing to the memorability or impact of the message. Perhaps others may have considered at the idea, tested it and thought ‘nah, that’s really really dumb.’

Then again…

Could meter matching be such a powerful copywriting technique that it’s been banned?

Carrying on…

Words that mean business …that’s when I got stuck. I liked the idea of a tag that mimicked the Fairy Liquid song, I had a good start, was enjoying the concept and wanted to see it through. Matching the ‘can feel soft on your face’ bit was proving a challenge, the ‘with mild green Fairy Liquid’ bit easily covered with the ‘with UK copywriting’ line. It’s the middle bit that presented the problem.

Pay attention at the back.

Tough one. Leave it as it is? ‘Can feel soft as your face.’ Probably not.

Now words that win business and meet business objectives. With UK Copywriting. Nah, too much business.

‘And is really really good’? Poor

What about ‘and friends and influence people’? Worse than poor.

‘And save you time and money’? Crass

‘And drive your profits onwards and upwards’ Sicko.

What I really wanted to express was the fact that yes, effective copywriting and SEO copywriting costs money BUT if it’s good, the new business it inspires will more than pay.

An iterative old business copywriting. As rare as rocking horse teeth to get something right first go (reminds me of a shop in Cheltenham called Changing Leopards). Just sharing.

After what seemed like literally minutes

The Eagle landed.

Dahh dahh!!!

Words that win business, and won’t cost you the earth, from UK copywriting.

And feel soft as your face = and won’t cost you the earth. Winner.

Ok so maybe it’s not quite Ogilvy On Advertising case study material, (then again) BUT the whole phrase does tick plenty of the marketing copywriting boxes in one swift Hi Karate kick. It relays a benefit – new business through copywriting. Tells you that it’s not necessarily expensive and gives you the name of the company with a nice copywriting keyword thrown in for good measure. By Jove there’s even a hint of green lurking somewhere in there.

What do you think? Is there a better line than ‘won’t cost you the earth’? Answers on a £20 note to………

What would you use? Would you even, even remotely consider this meter matching concept at all?

Will the meter be matched by people who read the line? Certainly people who’ve never experienced the Fairy Liquid ad won’t match it, so already I’m probably excluding a pretty large proportion of people who might see it, Americans possibly (was the tune used in the States?), a younger audience (I don’t think the tune has been used for some years).

Does the concept ‘take over’? Jamming inappropriate words into inappropriate marketing copy for the sake of a flawed technique that virtually no-one will relate to.

Need the technique be applied to such a tight target audience that it can never be cost effective? Maybe niche’s and tight targets are its strength?

Is the idea worth propagating, memeing as one of those collaborative viral marketing concepts in its own right? Perhaps simply to promote this site and no more. An end in itself. Could it be used as one of those crazy believables. You know like that new eye laser treatment the rich Russians and fishermen have that polarizes the corneas.

Misguided marketing froth and nonsense? Blog fodder? Web wank?

Is it medication time?

Questions questions questions – still……. that’s the way uh huh uh huh I write it uh huh uh huh.

Thanks to Laura Burlton for the image via Flickr

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The copywriting technique so powerful they banned it

3 Responses

  1. That Fairy Liquid ad inspired one of the funniest Private Eye cartoons I’ve ever seen.

    “Mummy, why are your hands so soft?”

    “Because I’m twelve.”

    Ben Locker February 5, 2010 at 6:11 am #
  2. 🙂 That’s great.

    I love Private Eye. There’s something about Eye Need that always leaves me feeling everthing’s going to be ok.

    Martin February 8, 2010 at 6:00 am #

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