For me, it’s not chocolate or ‘X Factor’, but the pun. Ah yes, for some copywriters a much-loved friend who has sadly gone out of fashion and for others, the bane of advertising now happily residing in creative hell with day-glo starbursts.
Advertising legend, cartoonist and co-author of the ‘Wicked Willie’ books, Gray Joliffe, would be on my side, I think.
The story goes that an account handler suggested that a press ad brief called for one of Joliffe’s puntastic headlines. Gray replied: "Would you like an old pun... or a current pun?" Genius.
True or not, the tale came to mind the other day as my partner was procuring some drugs – we were shopping in Boots. Idly scanning the shelves, my funny bone was tickled by the display of products from Soap & Glory.
Now, strange to say, I’m not in the market for "under eye dark circle remover" but the pink and yellow packaging caught my eye, and the copy brought out all my laughter lines.
Let’s start with the product name – Trick and Treatment. Love it.
Like all unashamed punsters, Soap & Glory is downright cheeky. Instead of punting the usual po-faced, science-based "proofs" beloved of cosmetics manufacturers, S&G tell us that Trick and Treatment was safety/efficacy tested in the UK on a bunch of really vicious circles. Lolz.
But it’s not just the copy that’s thigh-slappingly gigglesome. Check out the before and after pictures of a woman who tries Trick and Treatment.
"Before" is a bonkers-looking dark-haired frump with a full set of luggage under her peepers. "After" is not only circles-free, but a blonde sex-kitten!
"OK. Maybe we’re exaggerating. But you get the idea" says Soap & Glory. We do, we do.
Soap & Glory would not be the first brand to lavish such care on the copy for their packaging – and create some emotional differentiation in the process. As often in such cases, one thinks of Innocent smoothies in their early days.
It will be interesting to see where Soap & Glory goes from here – because although I’m a fan of the Innocent brand, I’ve never been convinced by its forays into advertising.
Is it easier to charm us on the smaller palette of packaging? Answers on a postcard, please. And why not make them punny.