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Brewdog’s ‘Advert on a bus’ has been praised as ‘a testament to the power of simplicity’. A bold statement, the best copywriting of the moment. Which begs the question, is creative copywriting dead?

Are we entering an era where all we need are monkey-AI-content bots tip tapping out the world, just how it is? Will we be bombarded with cans that say ‘buy this beer’, or rubber ducks advertised as ‘yellow’?

No. The reason is it’s artless. If you take Brewdog’s ad, you could insert any product or any service and it would have the same effect. There’s nothing that links it to the beer, other than the fact the creative team are taking a stand. A stand against engineered adverts and thought-out headlines. A stand against the millions splashed out on creativity. A stand against the production cos— oh wait, a stand that also buys a slot in the Game of Thrones ad break? How very punk.

Following in the footsteps of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, it’s an ad that breaks the fourth wall. But where Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag was a triumph of complexity, subtlety and humour, using moments between viewer and Fleabag as ones of intimate revelations, this ad smacks you right between the eyes. With no detailed backstory or intriguing narrative, breaking the fourth wall in a single headline feels nothing less than obnoxious. It’s a clumsy, cheap trick used to get attention.

I do have to admit that it’s worked, or I wouldn’t be talking about it in this blog. But it’s also a message that will only work once. Such a brash campaign can’t be repeated with the same effect, simply because the reason it got attention was because it hasn’t been seen before.

Maybe all publicity is good publicity. But all creativity is definitely not good creativity.


by Emily Kerr


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