Advertising wordplay can be catchy and fun. Studies have shown that things like jingles and little rhymes can actually be a powerful memory tool. Sometimes, wordplay has the power to help you stand out of the crowd and present a unique twist.
Advertising wordplay has a dark side, however. It has the power to make your company look uneducated, outdated and just downright backward.
So when does advertising wordplay work and when should you leave it in the dust? Let’s take a look at some examples.
Snickers: Hail the Snaxi!
The geniuses at Snickers nailed wordplay with this one. First of all, the word “Snaxi” is hilarious. Say it five times fast. It sounds like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The design is also clever. The shape and treatment of the typography in the Snickers logo has become iconic. The best thing about this wordplay is that it is going to make for a great story later. “Hey, you won’t believe what I saw earlier! There was this taxi…” Clever, Snickers. Very clever.
Allstate: Good hands make great catches.
Allstate takes their logo and marries it with their tagline to send a message of trust: “You’re in good hands.” Even the Allstate commercials end with Dennis Haysbert’s question: “Are you in good hands?” However, the best thing about Allstate’s wordplay has to be their touchdown net. Someone took a look at that net and thought it would be great to put the Allstate hands there to catch the kicker’s ball.
Victoria’s Secret: You’ve never seen bad grammar like this.
Victoria’s Secret’s recent line of bras is simply called “Body by Victoria’s Secret.” Let’s ignore the fact that “body” probably isn’t the greatest word for their target market… it almost lacks finesse. Their ad campaign for this collection is where Victoria’s Secret dives over the wordplay line. “You’ve never seen ‘body’s’ like this before.” At first glance, the word “body’s” seems like an abysmal oversight by a crew of designers who didn’t bother to include a copywriter. Upon closer examination, you see that Victoria’s Secret is trying to pluralize the name of their collection in a way that probably seemed flirty and fun. At the end of they day, Victoria’s Secret took a mediocre word and made it downright obscene. Don’t be that guy… er, girl.
Krazy Glue: Let’s spell it wrong for no reason at all.
There is no worse wordplay than when businesses spell something wrong… for no reason at all. It’s one thing when it works as a pun (for example, Lifesavers ran a campaign for their mint candies called “Savor the MoMint”). Clever puns aside, there is no reason to misspell something just because. You risk looking uneducated and juvenile. Why is Krazy glue spelled with a K? Just because. Don’t confuse your potential customers by trying to get cutesy. Let’s leave “krazy” for Krazy Kat (a cartoon from the early 1900s).
What advertising wordplay works for you?
We want to hear your thoughts about wordplay in advertising. What wordplay are you putting to use and how has it helped your business? Comment or drop us a line!