Thursday, November 12, 2009

The loudest noise in this Minute Rice ad comes from the electric copy


If you need to write an ad with loads of copy, Minute Rice can help.

It's nice to see Minute Rice bringing back long copy in its print ads - Ogilvy style! - by framing the product with a list of hundreds of things that take up time in the day, including: "change a diaper, RSVP for party, practice public speaking, and clean crayon drawing of "Mommy" off wall."

Its simple message in red typeface: "We can help." The Minute Rice website address also appears in red typeface at the bottom of the page.

Of course, ad guru David Ogilvy (not one, but two shout-outs on Mad Men this year) was a fan of long copy; he said the best headline he ever wrote was this very long one for Rolls-Royce: "At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."

His argument: it's so rare for someone to actually read anything in your ad, you might as well reward the few who do with copy that actually tells them something and makes them say, "I didn't know that!"

While this ad does the former and probably not the latter, I like that you can read it in a minute, or for 20 minutes, and the message still works.

And now, gotta get back to changing the diaper and cleaning the crayon drawing of Mommy off the wall - though I'm not sure why, since I don't have any kids.


  1. I like this ad. It's a little more focused than another execution from a while back. Kenton, you'll probably remember that double page Infiniti ad that ran in the Globe a couple of times with the endless copy in the background. It was like a never-ending stream of consciousness, but it still drew you in.

    Long copy is wonderful! I've always thought that Ogilvy's beliefs regarding long copy are dead on. As long as it's interesting, people will give it their attention. And let us not forget Gossage's opinion that people read what interests them, and sometimes it's advertising.

    A well crafted message will draw people in, even if its long. Now if only we could find a way to make people read newspapers and magazines again...

  2. I concur!

    You're right: the trick is getting people to read in the first place. It's getting tougher and tougher...

  3. I guess that raises the question- would people read a long copy ad online? Online ads are so geared towards our highly stimulated, multi-tasking, ADD suffering attention spans that you have to wonder if people would stop to read a long copy ad if they came upon one.

    Although, online reading is very different visually from print (scrolling is a big part), so the long copy would have to work within that framework first and foremost.

  4. I always think that long copy attracts readers, just because it looks like there's something interesting there.

    With a "blank" ad, you get the feeling you've seen it all and flip the page faster. At least I do!

    I'm always surprised by the number of copywriters who tell me, "You don't need copy in an ad anymore."

    Uh, OK, why don't you just quit, then, and I'll hire a graphic designer?

    Ironically, the online ads that work are the text-based ones in Google - not the most beautiful things in the world, but Google is making billions a year pennies at a time. Genius.

  5. Actually, the Google AdWords are no longer going for pennies per click. When I was running a campaign for MTS in April, the average click cost almost a dollar! Because it works on a "bidding" system, the more people who are bidding on any given search term, the higher the price is. Wha used to cost 15 cents two years ago is now going for 89 cents because of the increase in demand. Now that's brilliant.

    BUT, I will add that these ads do not use Ogilvy-style long copy at all. In fact, yo8u have a 25-character limit per line. The reason they work so well is because they are so short. I'v never been a fan of long copy. If you can't sum up what the ad is about in a few lines, then I'm not reading it!

  6. Ahh, but look at it from the other side of the equation Dan- if you can keep them interested for more than a few seconds, you've done a pretty good job with your copy.

    Even a short concise ad should create an interest in the consumer to get more information. The copy in the ad might be short but there still has to be a long copy execution somewhere (online, brochure, etc...) for people to learn more.

  7. You're right about Google AdWords, Dan. It just sounds more inspirational to say, "Billions of dollars at pennies a click!"

    But the ads are still ugly - I'm surprised it works!

    On a related note, I just earned my first $10 on my ugly AdSense ad on the side of my blog. Who would click on that sad-looking thing?

  8. Wow! I never really noticed that silly little Google ad there, Kenton. It's completely missed in the endless sea of blogrolls.

    I shall continue to keep my blog advertising-free (in a sense). I hate the tacky nature of the Google AdWords function. It just cheapens the look of the blog.

    Now if I could latch onto some sort of third-party endorsement deal...

  9. It looks terrible alright. And it is hidden. So how did I earn $10?! Anyone?


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