Doc Bottoms’ guide to copywriting with personality

September 30, 2009 by Dean Rieck
Filed under: Copywriting Tips 

Too many copywriters who learn the craft of selling fall into a rigid 37-reasons-to-buy approach that packs plenty of information but lacks a personal connection to consumers.

Sometimes, you need to loosen up, be creative, and inject a little personality. This Doc Bottoms TV ad is a perfect example. It’s funny, crass, borderline offensive … and terrific. And yes, it’s a real product.

For the record, I think humor is an advertising gamble. But this is a case where humor allows for a level of honesty that a more serious approach may not deliver.

Notice that the script follows the classic DRTV formula: present a problem, offer a solution, demonstrate the product, make an offer. So this isn’t a self-indulgent string of jokes. Plus, direct response TV ads in particular have successfully used humor for years.

There are several reasons why a little personality can turn ordinary copy into extraordinary copy:

1. It stands out from the crowd. Getting noticed is vital.

2. It gives people something more personal to relate to. People relate to people, not to things.

3. In this case, it makes people smile. A bit of levity is a nice break from real life. And the good feeling it creates lowers people’s defenses, so they may be more inclined to buy.

4. In certain cases, an ad can take on a life of its own. I don’t know if this TV spot has actually run on TV, but it’s gone viral on the Internet.

5. Sometimes it aids memory. Direct response doesn’t rely on people remembering an ad, but it doesn’t hurt. Remember Ginsu Knives? Of course you do.

I confess that I seldom use humor in my ad copy. But I do allow myself to break away from the standard “sales person” voice now and then when it’s appropriate. I wrote a direct mail package for a Monty Python game some years ago, and injected the Python personality into the letter by beginning “Dear Sucker,” describing the offer as a complete rip-off, and ending with a long series of silly PS’s … PS, PPS, PPPS, PPPPS, and so on.

It wasn’t a risk in this case, because I knew the audience would get it. It gave life to the copy and resulted in spectacular sales.

No related posts.

>>> Subscribe to blog by RSS or E-mail

Smart Comments

2 Comments on Doc Bottoms’ guide to copywriting with personality

  1. Roberta Rosenberg on Oct 1st, 2009 7:54 pm
  2. Be honest, Dean. You were just dying to take another crack at writing about Doc Bottoms again. (Did I just make a pun? Oopsy. :)
    .-= Roberta Rosenberg’s last blog … Friday Video Funnies: Twitteleh: Twitter for Your Jewish Mother =-.

  3. Dean Rieck on Oct 2nd, 2009 10:16 am
  4. I can’t lie, Roberta. I love this commercial. It reminds me of my days as a TV producer doing wacky spots for local advertisers.