Perils of too many words

Short copy. Long copy. Both have their place in outdoor advertising.

Generally, short copy works best, a simple, punchy message is easy to get across. A message that isn’t clear at first, but is short enough to remember and get the audience to ponder the meaning is harder to pull off, but very effective. Sometimes however, a bit of prose can work wonders, as long as it is intriguing enough to get people to stop and read it.


This ad is the worst of both worlds: my initial impressions: ‘Typical’. Sounds like a complaint. Branding. Not very visible. The image, which can really help convey a message, is too muddled, too much going on.

And that’s all I took away the first couple of times I saw it. I’ve deliberately left the photo blurry to illustrate what a passer by might see.

In short, it’s a mess. It’s a simple enough message, there are no brand values or technical concepts to explain. It’s just too wordy. This advert might work better in a magazine or newspaper, but in this format, it’s worse than useless.

I aim for a maximum of 7 words for a poster advert like this, saving longer copy for spaces where I’ve got a captured audience.

Natwest and Visa need to think of who is going to see this ad and address them more directly.


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