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That time Heston Blumenthal visited…

By March 30, 2015Values

Kitchen appliances.

Not the usual topic of conversation ‘round these parts.

But when I’ve had an obsession with Heston Blumenthal’s cooking for over a fortnight, it’s impossible to go a day without mentioning liquid nitrogen, popping candy, or what’s happening with those v-neck t-shirts.

My family’s vetting psychologists as I type.

Having spent the weekend watching reruns of his cooking shows (I’m  in the UK and can legitimately watch them all online –> don’t judge), I hopped onto YouTube and discovered this little gem – a demo of a blender he’s advocating for a huge UK retailer.

It’s called The Boss (<– exactly how you want to feel in your kitchen).

This lead me to visit the website where said device was being sold.

and then
I read
the copy

[insert horrified face here]

[better if you saw the actual copy …]

Picture1

 

I couldn’t help but think the product description was just so … average.

And who wants to be average?

Especially when you’re aligned with a chef that’s anything but.

So being who I am, I couldn’t help but rewrite it.

It’s like taking Mel Gibson to Scotland and not expecting him to yell ”They may take our hearts, but they’ll never take our freedooooooooom !”

That’s the first and last time Mel and I will be mentioned in the same article together.

Back to the matter at hand:

What do you notice about the copy from John Lewis? Here’s my take:

Aptly named the Boss™; this easy to use, high velocity super blender will take charge in your kitchen. With simple one touch functions, minimum intervention is required putting you in complete control with this blender.

It starts off well, but then contradicts itself. The blender takes charge in your kitchen … and then puts you in control? Hhmm …

Create everything from scratch from green smoothies to hot soup, from sorbets to hummus and nut butters to flour. The Boss™ features a high velocity ProKinetix® blade and bowl system that pulverises virtually any combination of ingredients, creating up to 50% smaller particles than traditional blending. This super fine texture creates a smoother taste compared to traditional blenders.

This section begins well with the benefits, and then moves onto features that nobody cares about. More importantly – do buyers really consider food particles being 50% smaller as an advantage … or do they want something else?

The ad then moves onto more features that make my heart sink,  my eyes glaze over, and my hands reach for the nearest sugar laden protein bar since there’s no way I’m buying this blender and attempting to make my own. 

Analysis done. Here’s how I rewrote it:

 

We call it The Boss for a reason

Blitz, mix and blend?

It leaves such ordinary behaviour to amateurs and uses its 3-horse motor power to revolutionise the cooking brilliance happening in your kitchen.

The innocent chickpeas and olive oil you pour into the jug are blasted by the ProKinetix blades to create a hummus so smooth you’ll want to lather your skin with it.

It takes humble nuts and seeds, and  lovingly crushes them to form protein bars your local health freak would salivate over.

And if you’re feeling like a guilty pleasure? It makes like Heston to create a luscious Marie Rose sauce to expertly complete a Prawn Cocktail the ‘70s would be jealous of.

Silky sharp soups, irresistible pesto, refreshing Grenita, Sunday special pancakes … your options are endless.

So to simply call it a blender? Would be insulting.

Key Features:

  • 3 Horse Power Motor (no horses were harmed in the making of this machine)
  • Pro Kinetix contoured blade and bowl system
  • Large back-lit LCD screen – for secret midnight snacking we won’t tell anyone about
  • 2L commercial grade Triton jug
  • Variable 12 speed putting-you-in control
  • Pre-set functions (smoothies, frozen dessert, soup, ice crush) to take the thinking out of your most savoured concoctions

 **************************************************

Here comes the teachable moment

      • What do you notice about the two versions? Which one uses more benefits to features and wins you over?
      • Which one helps you visualise using the product?
      • Is one more fun to read than the other?

Now, I may be a copy geek and rewrite ads for fun (seriously), but it’s something to put into practice for your business too.

Take a look at the services page on your website. Does it evoke images of what a client will experience when working with you, or does it list the stuff they’ll get (60 minute call, a plan of action, a complete website)?

A picture may paint a thousand words, but a thousand words? Can make intimate images so personal to the reader that they’ll make an irrevocable connection to them (and to you).

 

TELL ME I’M NOT ALONE: Have you seen sales copy and thought could do better? How would you have rewritten it? Lemme know in the comments, yo.

 

 

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8 Comments

  • Vishnu says:

    Send me one of these blenders asap! Ok, fine, what do we call this revolutionary technology? I wouldn’t want to insult the Boss. Great rewrite Razwana!

  • Liz says:

    Seriously. I want the blender from your version like… 5 minutes ago.

    So fantastic.

    Boring copy makes me a sad panda.

  • Ocean says:

    I hope you have room for a contrary opinion (which generally increases readership! – but I digress…)

    I think “features” get a bad rap. In the end, it is the “features” that we spend our money on. Ask any iPhone user why? they spent perfectly good money on their iPhone and I guarantee they will describe WHAT THE iPHONE DOES. “I can do this, and that, and the other thing that other phones can’t do. Or, don’t do as well.”

    So, yes, I think people buy their cell phones, and curtain rods, and blenders according to the features. Good copy describes the benefits of features. I can’t say, “Get an iPhone and you’ll feel like Superman!” without bringing said Superman-Feeling features into the copy.

    *Feature Comparison* charts are common because… they work.

    I think the best part of your revision, ironically enough, was your list of Key Features at the end.

    The features list is what every thinking person MUST see before pulling out their credit card. Either directly, in a list or embedded in the copy. Amazon knows it. Google knows it. And, you know it.

    Thank you for indulging my contrary thought.

    PS… typos are sloppy, bad form and bad for business. If folks PAY for writing – they’re paying for A WRITER who proofs their work before submitting. Just sayin’.

    • Features are, of course, one of the considerations buyers have before they buy, which is why they’re included in the advert. To say that features alone make the sale is false – this isn’t how adverts work.

      First they list the benefits, and the features support them. The point I was making wasn’t that benefits alone make the sale – it’s that the benefits paint a picture of how the product will improve the buyers life, and the features will support this.

      Contrary opinions are ALWAYS welcome 🙂

  • Ocean says:

    Well said, Razwana. And, of course, I see your point.

    My earlier response had less to do with your particular post, and more to do with the notion that “…features are passe, and benefits drive copy.” (quoting the hype-crazed, incorrectly-educated, garden variety “copywriter” here – not you)

    I’ve always been fascinated by the notion that one can sell with words. As a consumer, I pay close attention to – what gets my attention! Why DO I buy?, I ask myself.

    I think anyone who can sell with words has the world at their feet.

    You do an excellent job with words. May Features and Benefits live happy together forever.

    Thanks for your reply. 🙂

    • 🙂

      What gets you to buy is the key to writing g good copy – most people don’t take the time to notice what motivates them to buy something (especially if it’s something you don’t need but decide you definitely want -aka me!!)

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