Cropped image from Itch outdoor campaign by NOW

Itch – Killing It Right. NOW.

London Creative Agency’s Campaign is Long in the Face

This advertising campaign in the London Underground stopped me in my tracks. Not literally – the posters were on the walls along the fast-moving escalators down to and up from Underground stops – but definitely in terms of snagging my attention.

Maybe it’s the eyes, so expressive of adoration and love, discomfort and sometimes even mischievousness.

Maybe it’s the noses. I can almost feel the cool dampness.

Or maybe it’s just the fact that they’re dogs and cats, for cryin’ out loud.

For me, it’s all of those, plus the clever use of the animals’ breed names in the headlines.

Love it.

Whatever makes it so arresting, the campaign is for itch., which develops and sells flea and other treatments for humans’ best friends. The company developed the campaign in collaboration with London-based creative agency NOW.

Not only did it grab my attention, but it made me stop and think about our dog and whether we’ve treated her properly. Which is the point.

“Charlotte Harper, Chief Marketing Officer at ITCH, says: ‘ITCH was launched with the aim of infusing the pet care market with a massive dose of personality, whist offering pet owners direct access to the best personalised flea products for their pets… We wanted a unique, playful and unforgettable ad and NOW have really delivered on our brief to delight and scare us!’ said Charlotte Harper, Chief Marketing Officer at ITCH.”

Check out  itch.’s Instagram for better images and more of them, read more about it in the Marketing Communication News and check out what NOW has to say about bringing out the brilliance to kick out the fleas.

 

Forgive the quality of the images. Like I said, the escalators were really moving.

Poster of Shih Tzu for advertising campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poster of Labrador advertising flea treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poster of cat advertising flea treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poster of Whippet advertising flea treatment

Fredricks Communications Tips Graphic

#TipTuesday – Break This Rule in Advertising, Marketing & PR Copywriting

Provide Work Without With

Sometimes rules are made to be broken. That’s often the case when you’re talking about “proper” grammar vs. advertising, marketing and public relations copywriting. And it’s definitely the case when using “proper” will undermine “effective.”

Consider these two sentences:

  • I will provide Fredricks Communications with access to my Google drive.
  • I will provide Fredricks Communications access to my Google drive.

Get rid of that proposition, “with,” and nothing really changes. People still get it, and the sentence is shorter. And those who pay any attention to this blog know I push brevity as Rule #1 for clarity and keeping hold of readers’ short attention spans.

According to several “proper” grammar sources like the English learning website VOA, “with” is necessary:

With is a preposition, and the verb provide has two different subcategorization frames:

  • Provide somebody with something. – The recipient of the thing (Fredricks Communications) is the indirect object.
  • Provide something (to somebody). – The thing provided (access) is the indirect object.

Subcategorization frames? Recipients? Prepositions? Indirect objects?

Clear as mud in the eye to your average Joe.

Here’s the important point – nobody cares, except your former English teachers. And, with all due respect, they never had to sell a widget.

You and I and our bosses and clients care about selling that widget, and we know we need lively, engaging copy to do it. So keep your copy clear, keep it brief and work without with in your advertising, marketing and public relations copywriting.

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BankNorth TV - BankNorth in South Dakota: Values-Based Banking by Fredricks Communications

BankNorth in South Dakota: Values-Based Banking

For the first time in its nearly 115-year history, BankNorth has moved beyond the borders of its home.

BankNorth TV - BankNorth in South Dakota: Values-Based Banking by Fredricks Communications

Click image to watch TV spot.

Today, First State Bank of Warner, S.D., opened its branches in Aberdeen and Warner, S.D. with its new name, BankNorth. The acquisition announcement is supported with print, radio and television ads, media relations and direct mail. Fredricks Communications provided connecting, scriptwriting, art direction and project management services.

The message –

“First State Bank of Warner is Now BankNorth, and we’re excited about the direction we’re headed. We’ve been First State Bank of Warner for a long time, and over the years, honesty, loyalty and integrity have been our guide. We’re still the same people in the same locations, and those same values still drive how we work with you every day.”

The acquisition announcement is part of a larger rebranding campaign for BankNorth, which was formerly First State Bank of North Dakota. Check out additional campaign elements and the new BankNorth website.

Thank you to BankNorth for allowing Fredricks Communications to be part of this project, and to all Fredricks Communications partners who helped pull everything off so beautifully: Bock’s Office Transformational Consulting, Creative Monke, Kelner Communications, Knight Printing, Midco, Solberg Design and Video Arts Studios.

Graphic of a cartoon bomb

Tip Tuesday – It’s Not Literally Dangerous in Copywriting, But…

Let’s be clear. No limbs will go flying when you use the word “literally” in your copywriting. Never in the history of the world has a written word literally caused an explosion.

Fredricks Communications Tips GraphicNevertheless, beware of using the word in your advertising and marketing content. Literally means something is fact, so using it to intensify a word or statement that follows is almost always incorrect.

“Our service will literally blow you away,” indicates your customers will, in fact, be lifted from their feet and tumble down the highway like so many tumbleweeds in a bad old Western when they experience your service. Or they will, in fact, be thrown back dozens of feet by a bomb blast.

Let’s be clear again. No one is going to take you seriously and expect to be lifted off of their feet, by wind, explosion or anything else.

But here’s the thing. What you’re trying to say, in a figurative way, is that your company’s service is incredible and your customers will be highly impressed and pleased.

Unfortunately, “Our service will figuratively blow you away,” doesn’t carry quite the same punch.

You just need to find a way to work that into your copy without resorting to literally or being insufferably dull.

Saying suspects, prospects or customers literally will be blown away isn’t dangerous – it won’t cause cancer and no one is going to get electrocuted – it’s just absurd. Your company won’t just look less than professional, it’ll look silly, like a company that really shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

If you see literally in your copywriting, a rewrite is in order. Seriously.

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A bridge at sunrise

Tip Tuesday – What Advertising, Marketing or Public Relations Costs

The Bridge to Everywhere

Everyone asks the question. “What’s it gonna cost?” for <this or that advertising, marketing or public relations service>?”

Fredricks Communications Tips GraphicFew are ever happy with the answer – “That depends.”

But it’s the most honest response, even if it is lacking precision.

Asking a creative firm, “How much is it going to cost to get a (your need here),” is like asking a construction company, “How much is it going to cost to build a bridge over the Red River?”

Neither the creative agency nor the construction company will be able to provide a reasonably accurate answer before finding out precisely what you want to get done and defining the scope of the work it’ll take to get you there.

A colleague recently gave the best answer I’ve heard in nearly two decades in this business:

“Somewhere between affordable and optimal.”

I understood precisely what she meant.

Ask me the question, and I’ll ask you a bunch more. We’ll talk. We’ll hash over the big picture. We’ll go back and forth on the details.

I’ll recommend advertising, public relations, online marketing, blog posts or a combination of those and a bunch of other communication tools, whatever I believe will build the best bridge between you and your customers or prospects. Then I’ll tell you what it’s going to cost. The number will be somewhere between affordable and optimal (good-better-best, anyone?), and I’ll stick to it, no matter how much time it takes me to do the job well. (Learn more about FredComm pricing.)

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Tip Tuesday: Advertising Writing – Keep It Brief

Enough said.

Or, if you want more detail, here it is –

Like all of us, members of your target markets are bombarded by thousands of marketing messages every day. And, also like all of us, they have less than zero time to burn and are not likely to take much of it to read advertising/marketing copy.

It’s the “Get in, get out and live to fight another day” of advertising/marketing messaging:

  • Grab attention.
  • Deliver a compelling message quickly.
  • Close with a strong call to action.

So. There you have it.

As I said, enough said.