#Simplecopywritingtricks_1: WORD MANIPULATIONBoye Adefila 25/01/2011By manipulating words in certain popular sentences,often old sayings, political slogans, idioms orproverbs, a copywriter can bring new life to his/herbrand promise.Playing on words is an impactful trick when carefullyused. Like every sweet thing however, too much of itcan be distasteful.Play on words could involve a word or phrase that hasmore than one possible meaning. Such double meaningcould be implied by the context of the word, forexample within a specific phrase or sentence.In a way this is similar to the use of puns insentences. Puns are words that have connotativemeanings either by virtue of how they sound orsimilarity in spelling with the original word.Below is an example of such word manipulation.Example 1‘Hey barman, give us a beer hug?’Note that the word ‘beer’ in the sentence above wouldordinarily not fit into the world of ‘bear hugs’, as
the correct or expected word ‘bear’ refers to a certainfurry animal. Trust me you don’t want a real ‘bearhug’. However, it’s a common case of creative conspiracy inwhich writers conspire with the target audience in away that only them (audience) can understand suchhidden meanings (such as the manipulative inclusion ofthe word ‘beer’ in place of ‘bear’).In this case the message is ‘Serve us with loads oflarger beer!’In a world where routine is the enemy andpredictability ushers in boredom, customers needvariety…even excitement and adventure. Wordmanipulation is one #Simplecopywritingtrick thatdelivers this.Example 2‘keep Lagos Klin’This is an example of how a sentence changes in meaningto the benefit of a certain brand. The brand inquestion is a popular white detergent known andregistered as ‘KLIN’ in the Nigerian soap industry.If you were born and bred in Lagos-Nigeria or keptabreast of issues as a visitor either in the 80s, 90sor early part of the millennium, you would remember apopular government slogan ‘Keep Lagos clean’ apparentlyurging residents and visitors to please keep the cityclean.
Now that we have manipulated ‘keep Lagos clean’ to read‘keep Lagos Klin’, it simply means (to the targetaudience) that all residents and visitors in Lagosshould use Klin detergent…This would probably be more effective than ‘Use Klinfor a really clean wash’ which would be expected,predictable and probably elicit an ‘also ran’communication result.‘Keep Lagos Klin’ rides on the whole philosophy ofcleanliness, which has been campaigned with heavybudgets in the past.It also makes the brand (Klin detergent) appearconcerned about societal issues (a faint hint atcorporate social responsibility (CSR).More importantly, it makes the reader smile. In anoften tense world of the city, that is a bonus anybrand needs to bond with consumers.Note that the above example is merely an isolated one,not a verdict on Klin adverts or marketing campaigns.In fact the examples were completely made up by me. Nowcan you develop some examples of your own?
NB#Simplecopywritingtricks is a regular series developed forcurrent and former BP1 & BP2 (Beginners Programme) students ofThe Copywriting School.The Copywriting School is managed by Copycoach Nigeria Limited.www.copycoach.orgLIKE us on Facebook for regular updates on the school andCreative Content Development in general and the CopywritingCraft in particular: www.facebook.com/yourcopycoachFollow us on Twitter for off-the-cuff tips on the CreativeContent industry and the Copywriting craft: @yourcopycoachwww.twitter.com/yourcopycoachOur beginner classes are also available online to studentsoutside Lagos (Nigeria) and the rest of English-speaking WestAfrica. Students outside West Africa should please send a mail(indicating country of residence) to firstname.lastname@example.org.*For more free tips on copywriting follow me on Twitter(@yourcopycoach)