Words that Work: When TV Ads Went Rogue

Words are ace. That is all.

Of course I'm going to say that, being the full-time freelance writer that I am. But they really are powerful, aren't they? The reason for that is simple: even when they aren't even trying, they can still make you take action.

This old Marmite advert being a case in point. Okay, so there isn't much dialogue in the ad itself, but the slogan: 'Marmite: love it or hate it' has stuck in the mind of the British public in much the same way as the yeasty breakfast spread adheres to our morning toast.

It takes a bold advertiser to centre an ad around that thing (or things) that people don't like about a product or service. In the breakfast condiment's case, it's the fact that marmite is...well...a bit bitter on the old palette really.

Take McDonald's and this absolute belter of an ad from a few years back. While I'm not a fan of its 'I'm loving it' slogan, I take my curly Ronald McDonald-esque red wig off to the folks behind this little corker (click the link above). Sometimes, the fewer the words the better. And the fast food chain has, this time, somehow built a sales piece around a pretty negative-sounding catchphrase: 'Nah, you're alright'.

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The focus for the ad? Gherkins? Like Marmite, you either love 'em or hate 'em. Of course, the bigwigs at McDonald's have more than cottoned on to this fact, creating a pretty charming story between son and stepdad. Just lovely. It's proof that dialogue in an ad doesn't have to be overly flowery, just well-thought-out.

It's true that McDonald's can definitely afford to take a gamble when it comes to ad campaigns but I still enjoyed this cheeky yet subtle 'salesy' approach.

So, what does a brand (and resulting advert) that pokes fun at itself actually do for us - the customer?

First and foremost it's endearing, isn't it? If a company like Marmite, or even McDonald's can hold up its hands and say 'yeah, we have faults', it gives them a 'human' face and, yep, makes us put more trust in what it is they're doing. We Brits love humour, that much is true.

Moving On...

More recently, We Buy Any Car got in on the act of spelling out its downfalls in a bid to endear itself to the car-buying public.

Sure, you can get a better price for your motor elsewhere but why do that when you can save time? And time, as we all know, is infinitely more valuable than one or two extra coins in our back pocket. We can't even be bothered to put our pin numbers in the debit card machine, after all (cheers, Contactless payment!), such is our rushed, 'let's just get to the next place' existence.

Now, while I'm not too keen of a 'we're not actors - honest!' talking heads ad, We Buy Any Car were onto something when they ditched their strangely catchy but equally blimming annoying 'We buy any car.com, any any any....' ditty.

They replaced it with a fairly 'no thrills' ad which puts its customers needs and wants first. *Adopts Protestor's voice* (I'm nothing if not topical) "What do we want? No-nonsense ads that get to the point." When do we want them? NOW!"

freelance UK copywriter

'Value your time' is the message behind WBAC's latest ad. Why mess around selling your car privately if you can get it sorted quicker and easier via the site? Simple yet effective, what do you reckon? Oh, and with all that extra time you could...you know...stock up on Marmite. Or gherkins.

Have you seen any ads you like that adopt the same approach as these three? Jog my memory and comment below.

Until next time, folks...