Simple is really hard. Really, REALLY hard.

Oh, I do love a paradox. Except, to say ‘simple is really hard’ isn’t one when it comes to copywriting. Even if your clients disagree with you. Those clients who give you an A4 page of densely written text and ask you to make it into a three-word slogan for them…(this has happened to me).

Yeah, yeah – the physical act of writing three words only takes a few milliseconds. Actually CREATING three words which adequately and engagingly sum up three hundred words takes A Lot Of Time. As my mate Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” So it’s not just me. You might not believe me, but surely Steve Jobs’ opinions have some credence?

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It’s not a new idea, either. Good old Gustave Flaubert said, in a coffee break while writing Madame Bovary, “To be simple is no small matter.” That must have been before 1880, which is the year he died. Unless he channelled something through a spiritual medium at a later date.

There are some brilliant examples of simple copywriting out there, in my opinion – and don’t forget that Steve Jobs and I are practically joined at the mental hip.

Take innocent. Not even a capital letter there. Yes, it’s simple, clean, no-nonsense, uncluttered. All of which absolutely matches their philosophy and their product and it’s further mirrored in their branding and design.

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Look at their site navigation too – and the font they use:

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It must be something about healthy(ish) drinks because the other exemplar for simple copywriting I’d like to highlight is a company called Oatly.

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They’re Swedish but their grasp of simple witty English is second-to-none (well, apart from mine, that is!)

“To say more while saying less is the secret of being simple,” says that world-famous fellow I’ve never heard of, Dejan Stojanovic, from Kosovo.

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Take Oatly Creamy Oat Fraiche:

“So f***ing fraiche. Are we allowed to say that? I really hope so. Well actually you can’t say that word because *** are unpronounceable…”

“It’s a lot like crème fraiche, but we used oats instead of cream to give you a different take on one of the most flexible ingredients in the modern kitchen. Straight up Swedish grown oats that will make whatever you want to make taste great (whatever that tastes like these days).”

Love it. Simple rules okay. The trick is to make the result LOOK simple even if it’s taken your hours of blood, sweat and tears.

And, believe me, (or Steve Jobs if you must) – simple IS hard.

 

 

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