In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with advertising copy that uses the same old verbiage and sales tactics, here are five of my favorite brands that have stepped up their game with unique approaches to copy!
Buying from Fashion Brand Company feels like you’re supporting a stylish art friend’s local business… because in a way, you kind of are. Their approach to copy is funny, honest, and incredible edgy with messages from the sole designer like, “I don’t like this print so I’m putting it on sale.” Their casual approach creates unparalleled authenticity. Not only is this unique approach present in standard places you’d expect copy (website, captions, emails, etc.) but also on products themselves.
They engrain a healthy mix of truthful mission statements (discussing the benefits of slow fashion vs. harmful fast fashion) with bold parody on their about page:
This Fashion Brand Company Instagram post is a perfect example of self-aware marketing and accountability. They acknowledged that they’d made a mistake by selling jeans that were a size too small, so to make up for it they gave out a 40% off code. In true FBC fashion, the code was “Fbcsucks40.” Nothing makes a company seem more authentic than 1) admitting when they’re wrong and 2) poking fun at themselves. Fashion Brand Company always knocks it out of the park on both fronts.
H Mart, a well known Asian-American supermarket chain (featured in local Philly music legend Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart) has gained a significant following due to its massive selection of high-quality products from various Asian countries.
H Mart may win the award for most unique application of the recent Barbie meme. “I’m a cabbage girl, in a kimchi world.” Aren’t we all? The references to Barbie might be heavy-handed in the caption, but for a supermarket, it shows more awareness and originality than I’d expect from, say, the Acme down the block.
Reformation, the chic sustainable fashion brand based in Los Angeles, is known for its eco-friendly clothing, catering to people who seek stylish (somewhat pricy) pieces while being conscious of their environmental impact. Their copy is similar to Fashion Brand Company in that it’s genuine, edgy, and bold. They know exactly who they’re selling to, and they know the chokehold they have over their consumers.
On Reformation’s landing page there’s this excellent line of copy:
This copy has fun tongue in cheek humor that stays in line with their sustainability mission. I highly encourage you to sign up for their infamous email list. You won’t regret seeing all caps headlines in your inbox like “DRUNK ON A WEEKNIGHT” and “90% RECYCLED, 10% TERRIBLE.”
Urban Outfitters, the O.G. cool girl clothing brand, has seen quite a few marketing makeovers since their launch in 1970. (Fun Fact: Their first store was at the University of Pennsylvania campus!) What I love about Urban Outfitters’ approach to copy is their genuinely funny one-liners. There’s a very clear personality to UO copy: simple, trendy, and elusive. There’s no ulterior motive telling you directly to buy jorts themselves, just a humorous line of copy! When you’re a big corporation like Urban, everything’s subliminal, and in the case of copy, they’re doing it well.
Lex, the queer friendship and dating app has a special place in my heart. It linked me to three very good friends of mine, who I met three weeks before the pandemic! We nurtured our friendship from the confines of our homes until we could safely reunite, vaxxed up and ready to hang.
So, what makes people so eager to trust a simple little app for real-life meetups? Their social media strategy is stellar, and the app itself started out almost entirely copy based (no pictures! just text! let us harken back to the days of Craigslist missed connections!).
Lex’s brand copy is funny and specific. With so many companies sharing “Happy Pride 🏳️🌈” this copy stands out as it targets a very specific audience: online millennials who were experiencing their queer coming-of-age on the World Wide Web, using quizzes, forums, Tumblr, anything we could get our hands on to help us better understand our sexuality.
In this second example of excellent copy, Lex is catering to the astro girls and gays! Astrology has taken a permanent spot in the queer zeitgeist. If you don’t know your big three you better call your mom and ask her for your birth time before you go to the kiki! In this post, each astrology zine has a personalized “ad” just like on Lex’s interface. I swiped through each one and must agree the description for each sign is spot on.
Lex is niche, knows it, and we love them for it.
Why should we care about good copywriting?
Good copywriting tells a story in a short amount of time, and is key to standing out when trying to market a product, a service, or even yourself. The next time you see excellent copywriting—whether online, on TV, or just out and about—think about the feelings that the copy brought up for you. Why did you feel that way? What about the copywriting stood out to you? How can you use those tools and apply them to your own copywriting? Remember: every word counts.