Brands look to long-copy to boost resonance of ad campaigns


Brands are increasingly turning to long-copy ads to gain better traction with consumers, say industry experts.

Leading brands such as British Airways, Volkswagen, London 2012 and Sainsbury’s have opted to run text-heavy ads in the press and outdoor, in a bid to gain better traction with consumers.

According to Mark Goodwin creative director at advertising agency M&C Saatchi, the format is no longer considered old fashioned because of its ability to engage.

“There’s been a reluctance to use long-copy over the years, as the perception from both clients and agencies has been that it’s an old fashioned technique,” says Goodwin. “Brands want to try something different to engage consumers, especially young people. Long-copy feels like the radical solution to achieving this.”

Sainsbury’s supported its new strapline, “Live Well For less”, with a press ad to help convey the new concept to consumers in print. The decision to use the ad format is one that Daren Kay, executive creative director at integrated agency Tullo Marshall Warren, says ties into the supermarket chain’s bid to be taken more seriously.

“Long-copy ads only work when they convey the seriousness of a brand, which is what happens with the Sainsbury’s new ’Live Well For Less’ ads”, he explains.

The expansion of the digital sphere over the last two years, particularly in mobile, email and social media has meant that brands are being encouraged to write more long copy, according to Kay.

“Brands should be trying to encourage advocates to write more about them in social media, which along with emails and blogs, is a better fit for long-copy promotions than newspapers,” he says. “For the Lynx Rise campaign we created for Lynx we’re encouraging bloggers, who have reputations within our core audience, to write about our campaigns.”

As the proliferation of smartphones continues, Goodwin believes that this is where long-copy will flourish most in the future.

But, Chloe Grindle, copywriter at McCann London argues that the migration of long-copy to online doesn’t feel will happen anytime soon, arguing that outdoor and press are still crucial outlets for brands to engage with consumers.

“I’m not sure there’s a place yet for long-copy ads in digital, as there’s a very short dwell time on most sites,” says Grindle. “We produced a long-copy press ad for our campaign o launch the London Olympics volunteer programme, which launched last September, because we wanted people to really think about whether they wanted to volunteer or not. The ad was a great way of putting our cars on the table.”

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