You’re right. The headline’s confronting. We don’t know each other. And even if we did, it’s unlikely I’d ask you to hit me with your…
But one of the largest cosmetic brands on Earth wants you to buy into this ‘stick’.
I’m a recovering copywriter who’s lived in adland for 20+ years. So, I’ve read and written my fair share of crazy copy. My first gig involved writing collectible doll brochures. It was all about inventing new ways to say ‘carefully handcrafted from the finest bisque porcelain.’ It paid the bills. But I enjoyed the challenge.
You see, I get off on my supernaturally large vocab. And I know what to do with it, baby. It’s the most powerful thing in a writer’s toolbox – but judging by the recent spate of big brand copy misfires, it’s not one that gets used that often.
The other day, while skimming a fashion mag, I had a laugh-out-loud-projectile-saliva moment. There, in full-page colour, was the, Fluid Stick – Dior Addict’s new lip gloss or a… “high impact glossy colour lip hybrid.”
Toyota’s attempt at diversification? No. A copywriter’s moment of shame.
Don’t get me wrong. I too have wrestled with Roget when writing another spiel on another lip-plumping-sheen-tastic stick of tinted pout slick. There’s an art to dreaming up names for what is, ostensibly, beautifully packaged, diluted, coloured, scented whale sperm. (Well it used to be until those animal rights kill joys ruined the fun for the whales and got all interruptus on the concept. And now petroleum jelly is the name on everyone’s lips.)
But I digress.
Dior’s latest foray into the squillion dollar lip biz brims with lip-quenching water. But fluid and stick for 5g of high end French glossy goodness? Not only do these words rob the romance from a gorgeous piece of maquilage quicker than you can say The Bachelor is all about the lerve, the branding is one, giant wank.
What in the name of Ogilvy is going on? Are we in the grip of a worldwide word shortage? L’Oreal’s Elvive shampoo has just given us Fibralogy – promising you ‘thicker hair wash after wash’. Meanwhile, chefdom’s Wonka, Heston Blumenthal has produced his Remarkable Tomato Sauce rich in Umami (the fifth taste, apparently).
Yes. There are big bucks at stake. Yes. The world’s noisier. People’s walls are full of crap. Advertisers have to cut-through – just not with more crap, please.
In my opinion, the finest ad spin doesn’t make you feel like you’re being spun, much. Besides, I thought subverting the spin had become de rigeur. And beverages seemed to be leading the charge. Nudie juices anyone?
So obsessed am I with copy that connects beyond the BS, I’ve held onto an empty plastic bottle of water for months – just because of the name and label copy. Another Bloody Water is an Aussie brand of bottled water. And with copy like, “By drinking Another Bloody Water you are, in fact, supporting a bloody good cause. Us. You see, we’ve had our eyes on a new boat…”
Not only has it won my attention – but my loose change too.
Okay. Maybe I’m over-reacting. I’m a copy snob. A purist. At least I’m honest.
Still, for all we know, Dior’s new lippie concept might become so ubiquitous, we just might see the launch of Another Bloody Fluid Stick.
Now wouldn’t that be a big, fat hit?
Phyllis Foundis is a writer, producer and TV host who enjoys lip gloss.
POSTSCRIPT: Today I tried a little Fluid Stick at the Dior counter. Nice, not sticky, wet enough. So I asked for the colour to be written down. The assistant happily wrote down, colour #254 Liquid Lip Gloss. The real product name clearly hadn’t er, stuck.