Today I’m going to break with tradition.
Instead of mocking an example of bad copy, as is my wont, I’d like to introduce you to some copy that I think is good – really good.
So good, in fact, that your usually pedantic goodcopybadcopy blogger is prepared to overlook the occasional punctuation lapse (I would have inserted a hyphen here, a comma there).
To the left, you see a bottle of Punk IPA, described oxymoronically on the bottle as a “post modern classic pale ale”.
It’s produced by BrewDog, an independent Scottish brewery founded in 2007 by two young entrepreneurs who are clearly passionate about their trade.
I have a bias to declare. I love this beer. It’s my current favourite tipple. In fact, here at goodcopybadcopy towers we’ve just taken delivery of 60 bottles of it to see us through the summer.
Here’s what the label says:
BrewDog: Beer for Punks
BrewDog is about breaking rules, taking risks, upsetting trends and unsettling institutions but first and foremost, great tasting beer.
And on the other side:
This is not a lowest common denominator beer.
This is an aggressive beer.
We don’t care if you don’t like it.
We do not merely aspire to the proclaimed heady heights of conformity through neutrality and blandness.
It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate the depth, character and quality of this premium craft brewed beer.
You probably don’t even care that this rebellious little beer contains no preservatives or additives and uses only the finest fresh natural ingredients.
Just go back to drinking your mass marketed, bland, cheaply made watered down lager and close the door behind you.
In no particular order, here’s why I like this copy:
1. Use of “you”
The copy addresses one reader directly (all those “you”s and “your”s) – textbook copywriting that.
2. Great product naming
What an inspired name for the product, perfectly pitched at its target market!
What’s your image of the typical beer aficionado? This wonderful description, which I found on a forum discussing the typical membership of the UK’s Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), sums up the (fairly accurate) stereotype nicely:
male, middle-aged, large beer gut, sandals with socks, unkempt beard, questionable personal hygiene, pontificating on the finer points of the arcane details of the precise ingredients of a pint of Old Shirtlifter to anyone who is unfortunate enough not to be able to avoid him.
Punk IPA turns that image on its head. I couldn’t count the number of times my husband and his mate Jon have reminisced about their old punk days – usually while they’re savouring a fine claret or dining at an expensive restaurant.
Punk IPA resonates perfectly with the man old enough both to remember his punk years and to have developed a sophisticated palate. It connects him with his youth. It flatters him. It makes him a rebel, not a bore.
3. Perfectly targeted tone of voice
The tone of voice, like the drink itself, is anything but bland – and sets Punk IPA apart from lesser beers.
Many of my fellow copywriters used to cite innocent smoothies as an example of a company that had nailed a great tone of voice.
Personally I always found their overcutesy expressions of how pure and ethical they were a tad fake and patronising (so you can imagine how vindicated I felt when they sold a chunk of their business to Coke).
BrewDog’s ballsy, humorous, in-yer-face copy is the complete antithesis to innocent – and more believable for it.
It tells me that the makers of Punk IPA are passionate beermakers with integrity, not businessmen who’ve just latched onto an idea they think will make them rich. I trust them not to sell out to Budweiser.
4. Clever reverse psychology
I love the reverse psychology of insulting their audience by suggesting that we’re not sophisticated enough to appreciate their superior wares.
Of course, we know that they’re not really insulting us – they’re challenging us to prove ourselves worthy to be let in on the secret (while conspiratorially encouraging us to look down on anyone who doesn’t get it).
It’s playing on the Groucho Marx in all of us who doesn’t want to join a club that would have us as a member – but is desperate to be accepted by the club that tells us to just eff off and “close the door behind you.”