The 80s have it - why 80s adverts were the best

Dear God, please take us back to the 1980s, when adverts were a merciful 30 seconds long, and we only had to endure them for a short period before forgetting about them. Yes, sometimes those catchy little jingles did stick in your mind, but at least you didn't have to endure the adverts that announce adverts that are due any day now, and at least they weren't 30 minutes long, until you're confused as to whether you're watching an advert at all or a TV programme. And today's TV adverts are big affairs, think John Lewis, Chanel No5, L'Oreal. Frankly, I want to be taken back to the days of when A Finger of Fudge was just enough, and that all time favorite the Shake-n-Vac, which always put the freshness back. Those 1980s hymns that were short but far more memorable.

Don't bother with the apple, just have the Mars bar...

Don't bother with the apple, just have the Mars bar...

Yes, before we knew about the dangers of sugar, a Mars bar in your lunch box would fill you full of vigour and enough energy to get you through the day, it might help rot your teeth, but it successfully get you through the working day. And that simple yet effective catchphrase put to music made eating chocolate a necessary pleasure.

But was it really enough?

But was it really enough?

Another perfectly good reason to let your teeth rot. The song was enough, even if the finger of fudge tasted like sludge, that song is legendary. Whoever came up with that little ditty should be given the Nobel Peace Prize....for something, perhaps most effective contribution to tooth decay, or advertising, one of the two. My teeth used to ping with agony every time I bit into one, but I felt compelled to fulfill the finger of fudge destiny to find out if it really was enough.

Vacuuming the carpet was fun again....

Vacuuming the carpet was fun again....

I hate housework, and I hated it as a child as well. The only good thing about a vacuum cleaner was that it could send me to sleep in under 10 minutes. But the Shake-n-Vac made me want to vacuum not just my own house, but anybody else's house that needed a quick run through, as long as I could play the Shake-n-Vac theme tune while I was doing it, and be able to shake the Shake-n-Vac tube vigorously. And that song, the catchphrase......

Who made these robots?

Who made these robots?

“For mash get smash” what a superb strapline from Boase Massimi Pollitt. Simple, yet effective, yet again. The simple catchphrases are always the best, and as a copywriter, they do give you a reason to believe everything you're told about keeping things nice and simple is true. Yes, those little martians looked like they'd been put together in a school classroom on a rainy afternoon by a group of bored 9 year olds. This is back in the day when peeling potatoes and boiling them in water was far too much like hard work for anyone, and it was lot easier to pour boiling water over some dodgy looking paste, throw a wodge of butter over it and nobody would be any the wiser. The emphasis was on the authentic taste, and how you couldn't really tell the difference between it and a freshly boiled plate of mashed spuds.

Brain freeze hell....

Brain freeze hell....

Slush Puppies “Fun in a cup” and death to your brain cells. A cup of grey-blue slush that was so much fun-fun-fun. It left your tongue completely blue and made your frozen brain feel like somebody'd taken it out and beaten it with a sledge hammer before putting it back in again. One or two sips and you had to clutch your head in agony before you recovered any kind of equilibrium. And you'd be happily sucking the damn thing for near on half an hour before eventually, all the flavour had evaporated, and you had little left but damp flavourless ice crystals at the bottom. Regardless, Slush Puppy was a success throughout the 80s and it's still going strong.

Was it possible to get a red glow like this by eating porridge?

Was it possible to get a red glow like this by eating porridge?

“Central Heating for Kids” Ready Brek was something you insisted your mother bought, because unlike other children, if you ate it, you'd have some sort of glowing red ring around your body. Except it was lie, nothing of the sort happened. Your mother'd bought a year's worth of porridge and you'd be eating it till kingdom come and you still wouldn't get a red ring around you could see in the dark. All the same, Ready Brek was successful in the 80s because parents thought it would save them on heating bills. It didn't. But this clever idea worked.

*********************************************************************************************************************

Yes, it's makes you wonder how we ever survived the 1980s. It was the decade advertisers were paid to convince you that unhealthy foods was really good for you and helped you to function in an extraordinary way. They could help you work, rest and play that was just enough, and keep you centrally heated for the best part of a day. And if you hadn't fallen into some sort of sugar induced coma at the end of it, you could sing your way through a fragrant vacuum cleaning session and make instant smash and impress your dinner guests.

Yes it was an impressive decade and how things have changed. The adverts are longer, slicker and far more expensive, and yes, we have learned a little bit more about healthy eating. Junk food advertising is banned on children's TV channels, or where 20% or more of the audience is under 18 for a TV programme, but today's adverts are not a patch on the 1980s, its a period I look back on with nostalgia, unfortunately however, my teeth don't.

Sorry, I deleted your email....

Yes, emails still work

Yes, emails still work

You sent me an email the other day. It was about percentages and lots of money off something. I think you said something about SHOPING, I can only assume you meant SHOPPING. Because I can’t really think of anything else it could have been. Thing is, you did really well in getting me to open it, although I can’t for the life of me remember what was in the subject headline, but well done anyway. Not everyone gets that far, I often delete emails before I even read them.

Junk-box Jury

So basically I have the junk filter on high on my email account. The reason for this is because I get an awful lot for rubbish in my inbox and I don’t have the time to look at it. However, I still speed read my junk box to check what’s there, because inadvertently, emails I do want to read end up there by mistake, so it’s worth checking. It’s not uncommon for this to happen and I’m sure we all have a quick look in the junk every now and again.

Hilarious headlines

I get all sorts of emails in there, some with some truly hilarious subject headings such as “Gillian how about some turbocharged testosterone” or “8 Foods That Can Cause Serious Gas” or “Do you need Viagra?” God alone knows what this says about me, who knows, but the majority of them end up in the delete box before you can say turbocharge.

Turbo charged testosterone - is that a thing?

Turbo charged testosterone - is that a thing?

Because I’m a copywriter I’m really interested in what makes a good sales email, and so should you, because it might be the difference between someone who opens your email and becomes engaged with what you’re selling, or clicking the delete button.

So, here’s what I DON’T like in an email:

·         Calling me by name – this is subjective, some may find this personal touch really engaging, but not me I’m afraid, I think this type of selling has been done to death. The idea of faking some sort of familiarity with me when you don’t even know me is enough to make me delete it as soon as I see my name in the subject heading. If you are going to use names, for crying out loud make sure you spell it correctly, and don’t spend the rest of your email being too overly-sickeningly familiar,

· Too many exclamation marks – Not keen on exclamation marks, but one is just about ok, but more than three and I’ll think you have an emergency, one that needs an ambulance or a fire engine. Don’t over egg it, it’s not that exciting,

·  Pyrotechnical, over-technical flashy-flashy – Please don’t flash at me, please don’t put neon bright colours in my face, especially before 10am and before I’ve had a coffee. It’s not necessary and neither is lots of text, a simple and effective message is all that’s required, with perhaps a few images of what you’re selling.

As an example – ASOS is great. Subject headline “Dress with up to 70% off” That has my attention. Click on the email and yes a few garish colours, but then mostly images in sets of four, dresses with 70% off and then beneath that, a few shoes that might go with the dresses, and then a list of famous brands they sell, and that’s it. Simple enough to get me interested and no empty promises and no over-familiarisation.

Couldn't fit in all of this email - but you get the PICTURE,  get it?!?!

Couldn't fit in all of this email - but you get the PICTURE,  get it?!?!

So this is what I do like in an email:

·  Simple grabbing subject headlines, perhaps a simple question, a sentence with 6 to 7 characters only, examples are Change.org – “Will you join me?” And Goop – Stop, Collaborate, and Listen” You can be selling ideas or products, but if you want people to listen, you have to grab their attention with something powerful and it doesn’t have to be a long headline

·  An email with a simple font and not too many bright colours and flashing images, something that really grabs me emotionally without being too personal or overly sentimental, and then gets straight to the point

·  Simple graphics, good quality images if you have products to sell, I need to see what you’re trying to sell me

·  Spelling – there’s nothing more off-putting than reading an email with spelling mistakes, it doesn’t look professional.

So there you have it, if you’d like to email again with SHOPPING rather than SHOPING I might pay more attention, and no I don’t need any Viagra, or turbocharged testosterone, but perhaps I might be interested in the gas free foods.