Telling your story through your copy

Seth Godin says the best marketing tells a story.

I agree. The best marketing tells a genuine, unique story and lives it every day.

A fundamental of telling your story is your copywriting. With more noise than ever before, we have no time nor patience for average stories.

We require a refreshing, dynamic voice that offers an immediate connection.

Of all the potential meatballs out there, the T-shirt is right up there. So if you’re going to try and sell me a T-shirt when I’m not immediately looking for a shirt, you better damn well give me a sincere reason to stop and think about it.

First, a yawn:

100% soft sueded cotton, Supersoft, subtle color loss, distressed screenprint with applique and embroidery, screenprint and applique on backside, self-fabric interior neck taping, Vintage Wash, Muscle Fit, Imported.

And second, how to get my attention:

What is this? It looks old.
Well, it’s a vintage T-shirt. It’s new, but looks old.
It’s new but looks old?
Well, it seems new, but looks old.
Seems? You mean it really is old?
Well, you know when you’re out buying a couple of steaks and maybe some antifreeze and you decide on a pack of T-shirts at the same time?
You mean it’s like that?
Well, it’s like that…but different.
A lot different.
(Adding to the mystery, the original historic labels were accidentally removed and replaced by our own. Sorry.)
Vintage T-Shirts, for men and women, with short or long sleeves and chest pocket (always handy). Noticeably more substantial cotton than you normally find in T-shirts these days, pigment-dyed to achieve the effect of great age. Although newborn, they start out looking good (and old). And stay that way. And they don’t disintegrate just at the point they’re starting to get good.

The first is from Abercrombie, the second is from The J. Peterman Company.

These are two stories representing two brands. Which one are you willing to engage further? Which one is worth passing on to a friend?



Filed under Copywriting

3 responses to “Telling your story through your copy

  1. jimthomsen

    Problem is, “Seinfeld” took all the piss out of those pretentious J. Peterman ads.

    I’m reminded of the Paco Rabanne cologne ads in magazines in the early 1980s, featuring a picture of a manly man lying across the bed in a towel, smirking whilst on the phone:


    “You snore.”

    “And you steal all the covers. What time did you leave?”

    “Six-thirty. You looked like a toppled Greek statue lying there. Only some tourist had swiped your fig leaf. I was tempted to wake you up.”

    “I miss you already.”

    “You’re going to miss something else. Have you looked in the bathroom yet?”


    “I took your bottle of Paco Rabanne cologne.”

    “What on earth are you going to do with it…give it to a secret lover you’ve got stashed away in San Francisco?”

    “I’m going to take some and rub it on my body when I go to bed tonight. And then I’m going to remember every little thing about you…and last night.”

    “Do you know what your voice is doing to me?”

    “You aren’t the only one with imagination. I’ve got to go; they’re calling my flight. I’ll be back Tuesday. Can I bring you anything?”

    “My Paco Rabanne. And a fig leaf.”

    Paco Rabanne – A cologne for men. What is remembered is up to you.

  2. I didn’t look into it – but I thought about the J. Peterman / Seinfeld connection also.

    I’m not sure what you mean by taking the piss out of the ads – but I certainly agree with you that they sell pretentious products.

    That’s why their copywriting works. They know exactly who they’re selling to and they talk to those people.

    And that’s some kick-ass copy you shared.

    You with me? The best copy tells a story? Something we can connect to and associate with bigger images?

    I think that goes for stories in general. We crave connections, even though we don’t always consciously know it.

    Thanks Jim.

  3. Pingback: A trash can worth mentioning « The Rally Flag

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