Is the long copy ad dead?

Thoughts from our Copy team on the future of the long copy ad.

Is the long copy ad dead?

In short, yes.

Our attention spans have become smaller and we don’t have time to read anymore. We skim, converse through emojis and dabble in pieces of information laid out to us on a buffet of multiple screens, tablets and devices. If something can’t be said in 140 characters, the chances are we’re not interested.

Reading is a commitment. And when a page of words that includes a logo in the corner stares you in the face, it’s one that is quickly avoided. After all, why should we sacrifice minutes of our precious time to discover a supermarket’s pledge to sourcing only the finest quality, organic potatoes? Newsfeeds won’t scroll themselves and photos of misspelt names on the sides of Starbucks cups won’t upload to Instagram by magic. Our point being: there are lots of other ways we choose to spend our spare time.

Apart from awards juries and inhabitants of Adland, who reads ads anyway? As consumers, we are subjected to hundreds, if not thousands of messages each day, and over the years we’ve evolved a thick skin that protects us from them. In fact, we’re almost immune. We can instinctively sense when a brand is near in order to switch off, turn over, or scroll past before being subjected to their messages. Our guards are always up.

Winning with words.

 Brands are becoming more ‘throwaway’ in the ways they communicate.

Tweets, captions, quick-witted responses that are relevant to conversations are ruling over long copy press ads. ‘Including’ not ‘intruding’ is key. And speaking to audiences in a genuine, human way has become more important than ever. However, craft is still crucial. And copywriters still have to find ingenious ways to intrigue, captivate and stimulate their audience – it’s just we have fewer words to do so.

Some of the most iconic ads of all time have been long copy. We all have our favourites and ones we wish we had written. But today, there’s a time and place for the loveable long copy ad, unfortunately that’s in online archives and awards books nestled within agency bookshelves.

Gone, but never forgotten.