Branding is a copywriter’s job too.

The other day, I was talking with some fellow copywriters and art directors about a hilarious, surreal TV ad from about 10 years ago.

A huge blob chases a man through urban streets while a sinister voice over taunts him: “Belly’s gonna get you!”

We all agreed the ad was great. Then someone asked a question which the advertiser would have winced at hearing:

“Er, who was it for?”

Several of us thought Nike. Another suggested Puma. But it was actually for Reebok.

Perhaps the branding could have been better.

I certainly think the new posters for BlackRock asset management (example below) should have been more strongly branded.

Where’s the memorable brand idea?

Clever use of black in the design could have helped. But what I think their campaign is missing is a brand property or idea. Something to engage my mind and make me remember BlackRock.

That’s where a good copywriter could have been useful.

People often think that branding is the art director’s and designer’s domain.

But it’s also the copywriter’s.

A good copywriter comes up with ideas that are fresh and relevant – concepts that not only strike a chord with the audience, but are naturally linked to the brand as well.

The ideas are often informed by a good planner who has found some interesting insights.

Unfortunately the BlackRock poster’s headline, “Between the walk and the talk, opportunity is found”, is a generic statement about the investment market. Cover the logo and this ad could be for any one of a number of investment brands.

A poster from a well-branded campaign. Copywriter: David Abbott

Compare the BlackRock poster with the famous Economist advertising campaign.

While the Economist ads had a very strong look, which came out of the magazine’s masthead, it was the witty headlines you remembered.

Over the years the Economist campaign ingrained in our minds the idea that the magazine’s readers are wittier, more clever and more knowledgeable than us hoi polloi. That’s good branding.

Part of a campaign for Artemis, by RPM3 (now Libertine)

Another well-branded campaign is the one for Artemis investments. It’s run for the better part of a decade – long enough for Artemis to establish itself as the profit hunter.

If you know your Greek mythology, you’ll recall that Artemis was the goddess of the hunt. And every headline is about profit hunting.

So everything fits together nicely.

True, the campaign depends on the witty images that show a segment of a profit graph as a bird. But the brand property is underpinned by words: Artemis, the profit hunter.

Whatever you’re advertising, shouldn’t your copy help your audience remember your brand? I think so.

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