Jo Duncan

What can we learn from bad American adverts?

A recent trip through the Mid-West taught me an awful lot about what makes good copywriting. Throughout America, billboards are used to line the giant interstate highways. Whatever the promotion, the tone of voice and visual style was oddly consistent. Few images, capital letters and slogans that are very, very direct.

  1. ‘Don’t believe everything you hear.’

This design sums up everything I found alien about the advertising I saw in America. It’s punchy, unapologetic and opinionated. We just don’t do adverts like this in the UK. Although it can be exhausting to be bombarded with hundreds of these signs, they do get the job done.

The design is clear and direct. Is there anything wrong with that? Arguably not

 

2. ‘Make America Great Again.’

We all know this one. Donald Trump is incredibly popular in small town America, and his signs were common throughout the Mid-West and South. In the Bible Belt, politicians advertise themselves in a similar fashion to the local baptist churches. They pick an idea, and hammer it home relentlessly.

All that repetition is ugly, isn’t it?

The direct sale is unfashionable, and repetition is seen to be unpleasant, but perhaps we can learn a thing or two from these terrible billboards about copywriting.

Good lessons from bad adverts: