Category Archives: copywriting

Charmin Ultra Strong: Enjoying the Go?

Unless you’ve been hibernating, you’ve seen the animated commercials for Charmin Ultra Strong featuring bears and their dingleberries. Are these commercials annoying? Does a bear sh*t in the woods?

To make matters worse, they’ve recently added the line “Enjoy the go!” Enjoy the go? Do they think I’m saying to myself, “Gee, I can’t wait until this afternoon when I can sit down and unwind with a nice long dump”?

Enjoy the go. Picture it — it’s Friday night. You had plans to go out on a hot date, but instead, you call her up and say, “Hey hun, I know we were supposed to go out to dinner tonight but I think I’m just going to stay in and pinch a loaf.”

Don’t worry. She’ll understand. She knows how much fun doing a deuce is.

Here’s a parody I found on YouTube.


If you want to find out more about enjoying your go, you’ll enjoy going to Charmin’s website.

By Marc Librescu

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise: Be Careful What You Ask Readers

Hellmann's Mayonnaise

In this ad for their Real Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s (there is no Hellmann’s anymore, it’s actually a company called Unilever) asks the question:

If we knew more about our food, would we eat better?”

Any reasonable person would answer “of course!” And Hellmann’s, um, Unilever, wants to you answer that way, too. End of story. Turn the page.

If you bother to stop and read the copy (which is difficult due to the placement of white type over a yellow background) you find this:

At Hellmann’s, we make our mayonnaise with real, simple ingredients like good eggs, delicious vinegar and oils rich in omega 3. So it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Lean about he Real Food Project at hellmanns.com.

When they say they use good eggs, it’s not clear whether they’re referring to the quality of the eggs or whether they’re stating that eggs are good for you. Either way, I’ll let this slide.

Strangely, they claim to use delicious vinegar. If I asked you to write a list of 10 adjectives to describe vinegar, would delicious make it onto the list? How about a list of 1,000 adjectives? Who considers vinegar to be delicious? It’s acetic acid.

Imagine saying to your kid, “Here, Bobby, I poured you a nice cup of delicious vinegar. Drink it up!”

If you made your kids drink vinegar, social services would come to your house to take them away. The conversation would go something like this:

Social Services: We have a report that you made your son, Bobby, drink a glass of vinegar.
You: Yes, I did.
Social Services: Can you tell me why you did that?
You: Because vinegar is delicious!

The next thing you know, they’d hand you some paperwork with a hearing date and then escort little Bobby out the door where they would take him to a waiting van.

But I digress.

Mayonnaise is really just a fancy way of saying “oil and egg fat.” Here’s the nutritional information, taken from the company’s website:

A one-tablespoon serving contains 90 calories and 90 calories from fat. This is another way of saying that 100% of the calories come from fat. One tablespoon of the stuff has a whopping 10 grams of fat, which is as much fat as four chocolate chip cookies (source: Nutrition Lifestyles).

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise also contains delicious EDTA. According to Wikipedia:

(EDTA) has been found to be both cytotoxic (emphasis mine) and weakly genotoxic in laboratory animals. Oral exposures have been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effects.

Cytotoxic means “toxic to cells.” Genotoxic is a little more complicated. According to Wikipedia:

Genotoxicity describes a deleterious action on a cell’s genetic material affecting its integrity. Genotoxic substances are known to be potentially mutagenic or carcinogenic, specifically those capable of causing genetic mutation and of contributing to the development of tumors.

In other words, EDTA is a potential cancer-causing agent in laboratory animals.

At the bottom of the ad, in tiny print, it says that Helmann’s Real Mayonnaise contains “a small amount of EDTA to protect quality.” Small compared to what?

Is Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise healthy and good? You decide. Then ask yourself this question:

“If we knew more about our food, would we eat better?”

By Marc Librescu

EDS Keeps Those Doggies Rollin’

These are two of the funniest commercials I’ve seen in a long time.

Priceless line:

“It ain’t an easy job, but when you bring a herd into town, and you ain’t lost a-one of them, ain’t a feeling like it in the world.”

By Marc Librescu

Soyjoy Does a 180

SoyJoy

When I first wrote about a Soyjoy ad back in 2008, the ad was so bad it made me want to cry and scream and throw things around the room. The second time I posted about the company’s ad, I thought it looked great but was too generic (and I went off on my high-horse about possible problems from eating soy).

This ad nails it. The image merges blueberry, soy and the yin-yang symbol. The headline, along with the image, tells the story:

Whole Soy. Real Blueberries. In Perfect Balance.

There isn’t a load of unnecessary copy for the reader to wade through. It just works.

By Marc Librescu

Johnson Automotive: We Don’t Need No Badgers

This is a series of brilliant commercials produced for Johnson Automotive. They’re hilarious and on point. The commercials cleverly use the badger character to parody car salesmen and let the viewer know that Johnson Automotive doesn’t badger its customers.

The badger is really a puppet that’s being controlled by five operators, who were later digitally removed.

Another winner of the coveted 5 Monkey Award!

Silk Soy Milk Has the Beat

Silk soy milk

Nature never intended cow’s milk to be anything other than food for a baby cow. You drink milk because your parents fed it to you and told you it was healthy. The dairy industry told you it was healthy. You’ve been socialized to believe that milk is healthy.

If you don’t like milk or you believe it’s not healthy, you can drink soy milk.

This ad for Silk Soy Milk couldn’t be better. The message is contained in the image so perfectly that the reader doesn’t need to read a word of copy to understand the message: our product is healthy. As I’ve been saying here, people typically don’t stop to read copy, so advertisers need to get readers’ attention with arresting visuals to make the point.

I award this ad the prestigious 5 Monkeys!

Minute Ready to Serve! Rice: Just Sad

Minute Rice

Looking at this ad for Minute Rice Ready to Serve! white rice, you may think there’s a new rice app for the iPhone. But no, it’s white rice in a plastic container that you can microwave in a minute.

Not exactly revolutionary.

Here’s the headline: When Lunch Hour is a Lunch Minute.

The message here is that if you’re so busy that you only have a minute to eat lunch, you can eat a little container of white rice that will be ready in a minute. I don’t know who this ad is targeting (it ran in Fitness magazine), but if you’re life is so awful that you only have a minute for lunch, it might be time for a new job. Minute Rice isn’t going to help you because you’re probably going to die from a stress-related illness.

The ad copy claims that white rice is “healthy” and “nutritious.” If your idea of a healthy, nutritious lunch is a microwaved container of white rice, this might be a good time to rethink your diet. Rather than risk losing my vast AdMonkey fortune by making specific claims about the nutritional value of white rice, I’ll provide you with a link to the product’s nutritional information so you can decide for yourself.

Here’s some information on why brown rice is superior to white rice:

“…If brown rice is further milled to remove the bran and most of the germ layer, the result is a whiter rice, but also a rice that has lost many more nutrients. At this point, however, the rice is still unpolished, and it takes polishing to produce the white rice we are used to seeing. Polishing removes the aleurone layer of the grain-a layer filled with health-supportive, essential fats. Because these fats, once exposed to air by the refining process, are highly susceptible to oxidation, this layer is removed to extend the shelf life of the product. The resulting white rice is simply a refined starch that is largely bereft of its original nutrients.”

Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

White rice is fine to eat every once in a while along with other food, but buying cooked rice mixed with oil and microwaving it to eat for lunch because you only have a minute to eat is just sad.

By Marc Librescu