As I begin to write this, my second Bluefrog Creative post, lunchtime is fast approaching. Searching for a suitable analogy for the long copy ad, I am inexorably drawn towards food.
The long copy ad is, I think, the advertising equivalent of a three-course meal. A succinct headline to whet the appetite. Meaty, filling body copy. All rounded off with a satisfying flourish.
Just as three-course meals seem like an antiquated extravagance, so too do long copy ads. With a profusion of brands and charities competing for attention, much of today’s advertising offers immediate impact and saccharine gratification.
Here at Bluefrog, though, we believe that if good ingredients are prepared in an interesting way, the end result will be consumed – even if it takes a while.
David Ogilvy, whose Rolls Royce ad is a long copy tour de force, pithily proclaimed: “The more you tell, the more you sell”.
(Click the images to enlarge)
Many of my favourite ads take their time to communicate their message, whether it’s putting the spotlight on human rights or extolling the virtues of eating doughnuts.
(You can read more about this ad on SOFII)
So it was with a sense of excitement, and some trepidation, that we started work on our entry to the CBS Outdoor London Long Copy Challenge.
We had entered a previous CBS Outdoor competition, putting a urinal on the side of a London bus to raise awareness for The Prostate Cancer Charity. This time, our task was to create a Cross Track Tube poster.
lendwithcare.org lets you lend money to entrepreneurs in developing countries, so they can expand their businesses and transform their lives (this post from Mark describes in more detail how the site works).
A poster on the Tube would be a fantastic way of launching lendwithcare.org to a younger audience, who are familiar with entrepreneur-championing programmes such as Dragon’s Den and bionically attached to their iPhones.
Our entry addressed these commuters directly, describing the benefits of lending with an example familiar to anyone who works in an office. Here it is:
Much to our surprise, and delight, our poster was on the competition longlist and put up at Oxford Circus. For a couple of weeks, commuters and Christmas shoppers on platform 3 could read all about why it’s good to lend.
On the London Long Copy Challenge website, you can see the longlisted, shortlisted and garlanded entries.
These posters show that the combination of long, compelling copy and clever, striking design remains very relevant.
Our desire to be entertained, surprised, or at least occupied, is as great as it has ever been. Perhaps even greater – we now expect to be doing something all the time (it’s rare to see anyone on the Tube who isn’t reading a book or paper, listening to music or playing with a phone).
If well-done and well-placed, long copy ads can sate this desire. And so, at the risk of overindulging myself on the food analogy, they should still be an important part of the advertising diet.
That’s it for now. I’m off to tuck into a three-course, three-Martini lunch.