Writer, Reader, Rascal

To be a successful copywriter you need 8 key things. Fingers. Chortle.

This is the kind of massively unhelpful and entirely spurious advice you can expect from Andrew Boulton, ...

...copywriter at Together and all round scoundrel.

Having smashed his increasingly chubby copywriting fingertips against keyboards for many years – starting life as copywriter for Egg before moving on to top Midlands agency Together – he’s learned a thing or two about how to deliver a captivatingly brilliant piece of copy.

Sadly, he’s forgotten all of that and all we’re left with are his shambolic, often scurrilous, ramblings about whatever has caught his wild copywriter’s eye that week.

Enjoy his words, say nice things to him and send him free biscuits. This is all he asks.

You can venture into the world of Together at www.togetheragency.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @Boultini

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18 April 2013 - 10:30am | posted by | 1 comment

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT: Why competition should (but doesn’t always) bring out the best in a brand

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT: Why competition should (but doesn’t always) bring out the best in a brandFIGHT FIGHT FIGHT: Why competition should (but doesn’t always) bring

Competition brings out the worst in me. At the age of eleven, engaged in a fiercely contested game of ‘Streetfighter 2’ I shamefully attempted to drown my friend in a bowl of Monster Munch. For the sake of the continued enjoyment of this blog let’s pretend he didn’t die.

But while competition may turn some people into lunatics, in the field of marketing it should (and I stress the word ‘should’) be a positive thing.

It’s quite rare for one particular brand to exist in a market state where they face no significant direct competition. I suppose Red Bull could be considered to be such a brand, as while other energy drinks are available their marketing impact is negligible in comparison to Red Bull’s (beautifully engineered) brand dominance.

But a scenario such as this is the exception to the rule. Think Pepsi vs Coke. Think McDonalds vs Burger King. Think the never ending wrangling between the top supermarkets, energy suppliers and banks.

And, in theory, competition should keep brands sharp. An inherent anxiousness about the activity of a rival brand should spur them on to continuously look forward, innovate, explore.

The insurance comparison site market was an invariably drab advertising sector. Ads for the various competing brands were almost indistinguishable from one another, each of them adopting the same lazy and uninspiring formula.

Whether you like them or not, the likes of ‘Compare the Market’ and ‘Go Compare’ have forced that particular sector into abandoning their usual efforts and thinking a little more differently. Admittedly the results throughout the industry haven’t been astounding as yet, but there have at least been signs of a willingness to evolve and an attempt at inventiveness.

But, for whatever reason, this reaction doesn’t always materialise. Despite it being a legendary brand rivalry in which Coca Cola dominates the cola market (although Pepsi’s multiple businesses generate more revenue) Pepsi’s advertising is largely seen as a brutal defeat of style over substances.

The Pepsi Max ‘dudes’ are largely unlikeable for a set of brand characters that are supposed to act as aspirational figures for the brand values. And the Pepsi football ads are so universally dreadful I often wonder whether the footballers themselves have conceived them.

Coca Cola on the other hand seemed to have comfortably inhabited their own sweet and surprisingly charming approach to advertising. The Christmas adverts have become ingrained in festive culture, the latest polar bear ads are heart-warming and even the Diet Coke hunk (that damned handsome rascal) has an affable and knowing humour to it.

Perhaps in this case, the competition has forced one brand into consciously carving out an advertising personality that is unmistakably distinct from their rivals – possibly at the expense of more endearing campaign ideas.

Maybe they should just settle the whole thing with a game of 'Streetfighter 2'? To the death, of course.

@Boultini

Andrew Boulton is a copywriter at the Together Agency. Never play him at ‘Streetfighter 2’.

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Comments

19 Apr 2013 - 13:25
duh_sponge's picture

Double Dragon - high school lunchtimes at the chippy playing the arcade - before we discovered ciggies and girls. Hammering level-bosses while your mates chucked chips at the back of your head. Late 80s nostalgia - damn I'm getting old.

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