Words aren’t dead. But if you believe some of the naysayers and doom-mongers, our 26 favourite little characters are very much heading towards their twilight years. There is a school of thought that the increasing power of visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, along with the scope for video on mobile, is killing the written word.
Now there’s a word I’ve always liked.
True, we consume more now visually through pictures and film than we have ever done before. And this is undoubtedly set to increase; but to me pictures are the fast food of the communications industry. Words are the meat. The really juicy bit that you can get stuck into. Leaving you satisfied in a way that only the written language can.
To help make my case, I’ve selected pieces of communication that show the unique power of words. From press ads to packaging. Some are long on copy. Some are very short. But all grab you in a way that’s hard to ignore.
First up is a Timberland press ad. This is a very personal choice: I first saw this in the pages of the Independent newspaper while sitting in my student flat in Bristol. It’s what convinced me that my future was as a copywriter.
Timberland was a newcomer to the UK, and its budget was small. This was the first in a series of press ads that launched the brand. This ad in particular caused some controversy and even made it onto the BBC’s Newsnight.
This next ad contains only three words. But its impact is no less for it. A great example of customising the vernacular to deliver an in-your-face message. How very Nike.
Next is a 1980s Father’s Day ad for Chivas Regal. Timeless.
And from the upmarket to the considerably more mundane. This great ad for KrispyKreme donuts isn’t just a lovely piece of writing; it’s a wonderful (if all too rare) example of the sort of great advertising that can happen when a client trusts its agency.
This classic from the very early days of Saatchi & Saatchi proves that for a skilled writer, a dull topic does not mean dull copy.
Hopefully that hasn’t put you off your food. This little gem of an ad certainly won’t.
And here’s a great 48-sheet poster for Spitfire Ale to wash it down with.
And from beer advertising to beer packaging. This is the copy on the back of a bottle of Punk IPA, from the bad boys of brewing – BrewDog.
If all that food and drink has left you feeling the need for something a little more spiritual, then maybe this ad for The Episcopal Church is just what you’re after.
This one’s aimed at gentlemen with a bit of spare cash.
While here’s a great example of the work that has helped make the Economist a regular at awards events.
And to finish things off, a couple of small space ads.
The first created by an ad agency, the second by a member of the public. Proof that a few well chosen words can deliver a very, very powerful punch.