Words are wonderful.
They can do amazing things.
In fancy, phenomenal, metaphorical, poetical, purply ways. Or with simple, solid, Hemingway style sentences.
They can create whole worlds from nothing, change the way people think, inspire, enlighten, depress, resolve, scare and sometimes just make people laugh.
In advertising they’re usually used to persuade, engage and stand out. And it’s from the last one where there seems to have risen a problem of late.
Standing out is hard, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: standing out is hard. That’s the main job of agencies like ours, to try and cut through the noise to deliver our client’s message. This might be through clever media planning and ad placement, it might be from exceptional, viral-baiting creative or snazzy copy.
And it’s in copywriting aiming for the standout tagline where we’ve seen a trend. Weird, grammatically goofy wording.
Deliveroo: Eat More Amazing
Visit Luxembourg: Live Your Unexpected
Toyota: Start Your Impossible
Fluffy Dog Ltd: Believe in Exciting
Okay, that last one was us…
You see what we mean though, that could be a campaign. We’re trying to understand the trend. What’s happening? Is it clever copywriting, or a lazy word-sneeze?
Some commenters are firmly of the latter opinion. But we’re okay with it, mostly.
Mind Your Language
Language is something that continuously evolves. It shifts with culture changes, geographical movements of the people that use it, how it’s used and for a thousand other reasons. And right now it’s changing faster than ever.
There’s a conservative view of language that asks for it to never change. That asks that the whoms to who it may apply to always stick around and sentences are never, not never, built with double negatives or ended with prepositions in…
Some of you will have flinched at that last paragraph and maybe you’re the ones who won’t respond to taglines like ‘Experience Amazing’ (Lexus).
But it’s clearly working.
One of the early examples, Rightmove’s ‘Find Your Happy’, first launched in 2014, has seen a synonymous brand uplift and they continue with this strapline today, suggesting it’s still working pretty well for them.
And let’s not forget the forerunner of this kind of thing, Apple’s ‘Think Different’.
And brands are continuing to follow the trend, which means there are some positive numbers associated with the word twisting.
The times this copywriting tactic falls down for us is where it feels like there was very little work put into the campaign. Lexus’ ‘Experience Amazing’, for example. We’d imagine their strategy document read:
What do we want audiences to…
The Lexus is the right luxury car for them (or similar).
That driving a Lexus is an amazing experience.
‘I’ve got it!’ cries Lexus’ agency’s copywriter...
Scribbles down ‘Experience Amazing.’
It’s pretty route-one stuff, but, because of the grammar flipping trend, it can read profoundly, interestingly even. But, just beneath the surface, it seems that it’s only half a thought away from a generic note on a briefing document.
Lexus: Experience Amazing
There are, however, some great examples of more original grammar bending copy that catches the eye and develops the brand.
Harry’s, the low-cost shaving product delivery brand, does something a little different with their ironic twist on grammar rules (see below).
This copy doesn’t try to be profound or philosophical to gain engagement. It simply outlines their core USPs in a way that develops their personality. Simple, fun, effective.
The manipulation of grammar in advertising may continue on with good examples and bad, be it the perfect summation of the brand’s strategy or a simple first base effort to make it sound like clever copywriting. Whether it will continue to be effective is something we’ll have to keep an eye on, but, like language itself, we’d imagine it will have to evolve sooner rather than later to stay relevant.