You’re in the right place! This post is packed with great copy, great ads, great websites, great social media feeds and more. I’ll be honest, it’s a bit of a monster.
I’ve been putting this list together for a while. It’s a mix of things I love, things you told me you love during one of my hosting sessions on Twitter’s #ContentClubUK a few months back, and other examples that were celebrated (and dissected) at Nick Parker’s fabulous Tone of Voice workshop as part of this year’s CopyCon.
And bit like my A-Z of Copywriting, this one’s a bit of a selfish post. It’s a way for me to bunch together a load of ads and other content that I find inspiring, thought-provoking or otherwise useful in my day-to-day job.
We’ll be taking a whistlestop tour through print, out of home, websites, ads, video content, social media and more. So sit tight. Here goes…
Print & Out of Home (AKA pictures that don’t move)
Emily Snacks bus stop ad campaign
I hadn’t heard of this one, but Katie Thompson introduced it to me on Twitter, saying “the Emily Crisps ‘pandemic’ campaign with the bus stops was brilliantly timed”. See for yourself…
Oasis honest marketing
This one was nominated by Michelle O’Connor on Twitter, and when I asked her to pick a particular bit of Oasis’ content to share, she said “basically their entire Twitter feed if you go back is pretty amazing”. This is true. Let’s pick out a bit to focus on as an example, though. Take a look at this link for an example.
Spotify throwback campaign
This is another pick by Katie Thompson. “It wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea”, she said, “but I loved Spotify’s ‘throwback’ (or whatever it was called) campaign. Smashing Pumpkins. Smashing avocados. Hilarious.”
Swiss life ads
These copy-based print ads are just so clever. If you like a bit of wordplay, you’ll love these.
Jack Daniels London Underground Ads
Jack Daniels’ copy is a masterclass in storytelling, but how to pick just one example? Well, why not share this link that explores a bit more behind the brand’s ads for the London Underground (thanks to Nick Carson for sharing!).
Kentucky Fried Chicken FCK Campaign
OH yes, remember when KFC ran out of chicken? Their apology was a stroke of genius.
Video & TV (AKA pictures that do move)
Dollar Shave Club video
This one’s a classic, right? Helen thinks so and I do too.
These next three come to us thanks to Kim Emson and they’re lovely examples of what you can do with video content. Here’s life insurance company Dead Happy showing us that professional doesn’t need to mean boring.
Whether you’re interested in seeing fab video content or not, you should watch this. Trust me, it’s an eye-opener, and I’m so glad Kim shared it.
These guys are masters at video content in my humble opinion. There are lots of similar animations out there these days, but it’s a style I first saw here. So easy to understand, so calming… I love it.
Red Bull’s animated ads
The good folk at Red Bull have put together a whole archive of their iconic animated ads so you can enjoy them all over again!
Packaging (I love packaging)
Thortful is all about making someone’s day that little bit more special, and their packaging is totally on board with that. Here are just a couple of pics to help show what I mean (thanks to the lovely Cate – whose designs you can buy through Thortful’s – for the pics).
Oatly make clever use of every bit of space they have on their packaging, sharing their mission, inspiring you to join the dairy-free way of life and welcoming you into their brand with a warm hug.
Method’s copy makes cleaning feel less like cleaning and more like fun. Which is a bit of a miracle in my opinion. The copy on the back of their packaging is designed to make you smile, and (for me at least) it works a treat. Please don’t judge me on the photos, I’m a copywriter, not a photographer (and it shows).
Tony’s Chocolonely may make utterly delicious chocolate, but the brand has a much bigger and much more important purpose than that. They use their packaging (and the product itself) to explain more about their work to tackle inequality in the chocolate industry…
Aussie might sort of be responsible for me becoming a copywriter. Seriously, I remember reading the copy on their shampoo bottles from start to finish as a kid, fascinated by how much they could tell you about their brand in such a small place. Maybe that’s why I’m SO excited that I get to work on shampoo bottle copy myself these days. Life goals and all that.
Social media (AKA Twitter, in all these cases…)
Nominated by Natalie Ann Holborow (and a favourite of mine, too), Swansea Waterstones are doing brilliant things on Twitter. Natalie says they’re “bloody brilliant with their social media content – a genuinely funny and human approach to every tweet” and I agree!
Who’d have thought a council would make the list? I KNOW. But Doncaster Council has been showing the rest of the public sector how it’s done recently, mixing their content up with some amazing threads. This one about sandwiches is a great example.
I mean, tea is everything, so Yorkshire Tea are starting from a good place. But I’m pretty sure Nik Jones nominated them (and our next entry) for more than just that. They’re properly funny, and the mischief they get up to chatting with other brands is exactly what social media should be about.
Another one that’s doing this social thing well. I love the slightly sarcastic tone of the tweet they followed up this one with…
Studying doesn’t have to be boring, and Spark Notes prove that point with their Twitter feed. If you’d even wondered how best to sign off your emails, this one’s for you.
Unsplash 404 pages
Brilliant examples of content done well – it’s not just about the chatty copy, it’s about the carefully-chosen backgrounds. Unsplash, I take my (imaginary) hat off to you.
Brought to my attention by Claudia Benetello, you’d be forgiven for wondering if Penhaligons are feeling quite right. But in a good way. Their mix of weird and wonderful British eccentricity makes for a brilliantly strong brand.
CourseHero book summaries
Helen Hill picked this series of infographics, which condense books down to visuals and plot summary. And I’m glad she did, because they’re a thing of beauty. Check them out (and then pretend you’re really well-read).
Brewdog beer descriptions
Unflinching. Attention-seeking. Memorable. Brewdog ticks all the boxes. Their beer descriptions are a great place to start if you’re not already a fan.
Tiffany & Co.
A classic brand, Tiffany & Co. has earnt the right to throw all the superlatives they can find at their webpage and still not look cheesy or try-hard. It’s partly because they’re known the world over for luxury and opulence, but it’s also because they go light on copy, so it’s still kind of understated. I also love the way they focus on the story rather than the products. You’ll find “shop the story” across their site, really inviting you into their world.
I was first introduced to this innovative underwear brand by a client ages ago, and their copy pulled me straight in:
The whole section (read it here) is great, but for me, specifically, it’s that bit about trying to pull your tights up on the tube. It felt so familiar. We’ve all been there (well, if we wear tights and take the tube, we have). And connecting with your audience in this kind of way is the key to great copy.
You thought we were going to go a whole blog post about great content and not mention these guys? You thought wrong. The original and the best when it comes to cute, whimsical content, they have many impersonators but there’s nothing like the real thing…
Ben and Jerry’s
A personal favourite, I love the way Ben & Jerry’s pulls together quirky, fun content with a serious underlying message. That, and nobody comes up with better names for their ice-cream flavours. Fact.
And if any of this has been useful, please do take a look at what I do with words over on my website…
With oodles of thanks for the ideas, nominations and inspiration to:
Sorry if I’ve missed anyone – let me know and I’ll make it right.