If you’ve ever read an Innocent Drinks carton, you’ll be aware of quirky copywriting. It’s that cutesy, childlike, humorous copy that doesn’t produce belly laughs, but does momentarily brighten your day.
Zany, kooky and offbeat
Many other brands jumped on the bandwagon. I’m thinking Firebox, Articulate, and Trello. Towards the end of the noughties, just about everything in your shopping bag spoke to you like you were a slightly mischievous eight year old.
For me, this was manna from heaven. People who know me IRL would describe my sense of humour as being on the sur side of real. This is the idiot who used to memorise and perform Monty Python sketches in front of the whole school. I went on to write an offbeat blog that won national awards, including one from The Guardian.
With the arrival of ‘wackaging’, zany, kooky and bonkers ruled the roost. And I was the quirky copywriter who became king rooster.
My website at the time was almost entirely given over to this wackywriting. Everybody wanted it. A bingo site I wrote in this style won an international award.
One day, I took a phone call from Danny, the copywriter at Innocent Drinks. He said, ‘I absolutely love your work. Would you like to be on the copywriting roster at Innocent?’
Obviously, I said no as I was far too busy.
The hell I did. Truth is, they’ve never needed me, but the thought was rather satisfying.
But then, a few years back, everything changed. Stuffy B2B organisations suddenly and inappropriately got in on the act. Seriously, who wants their credit broker to write to them sounding like they’re being tickled in a ball pit?
Being funny and friendly was no longer a differentiator. With everybody at it, wacky became the norm.
This is part of a phenomenon I christened Homogenised Differentiation. Mainly because I’ve always wanted to sound like a smarty-pants with a large forehead.
All it means is that Company A drops its prices, introduces a new service or targets a new market, then Competitor B copies. The result is an oligopoly, like the banking industry, with identical offerings across the board.
Sadly, quirky copywriting has all but had its day. In its place, everything has become ‘artisan’, ‘handmade’, or ‘lovingly crafted’.
But that’s not to say that quirky and chummy is wrong for your audience. After all, did you ever hear of a company that wanted to come across as stiff and arrogant?
As in all things, there are degrees of quirk. And if you’re up for a little playful mischief, I could be persuaded to dust off my quirky crown.