Sometimes you see a commercial that presents words in a way you’ve never quite experienced before. For example, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice, or the great Errol Morris Miller High Life campaign. Both stand refreshingly alone in terms of syntax, structure and language.
I think we can add the great Monster.com work to that list:
Creating a unique voice is one hell of an achievement. It means you didn’t just come up with a new thing to say; you also came up with a whole new way to say it. How often does that happen? Not very.
But the Monster.com copywriter Gavin Kellett (we should also mention the excellent art director, Nik Studzinski, who did so much to bring these words to life) managed an even greater feat: the spoken words can translate to the page, so when you read the press ad, you can still hear the crazy voice coming through loud and clear.
Let’s look at the details:
A headline that reads ‘I AM NOT YOUR BITCH’, but still makes complete sense with the ad.
A headline that’s actually the last line of the copy.
An opening that’s ridiculously intriguing: ‘He doesn’t even want these photocopies‘? Who? What photocopies? Why are you being so obtuse?
A story that doesn’t reveal its point or meaning until the very end, an end that you’ve already read, but found so strange that you decided to go back to the start and discover what the hell it’s on about. Most ads set up some kind of question right at the start, then answer it in the first sentence of the copy, using further words to beef up the sell. This one treats you like a cat, dangling the string just out of reach until it’s good and ready to reveal its intention. Ballsy stuff.
Talking of the story, that’s a pretty juicy narrative to fit into 80 words. You go from a photocopying errand to unhinged insanity in less than 30 seconds, before hopping over to that nice little punchline for Monster.com. A fine and rewarding journey.
Instead of paring things down to as few words as possible it repeats ‘Tell him’ five times. The tone of voice demands it, but another writer might have ended the piece at ‘Tell him you’re not his bitch’. Doing so would still make sense; it just wouldn’t be great.
So conventions have been broken all over the place in an edgy, funny, irreverent corporate communication that works far better than it has any right to.
And now you know: you may not be your boss’s bitch, but Gavin Kellett’s writing made you sit up and beg,