By Peter Stephen, Senior Copywriter at OgilvyOne Business - Shere


If there’s one thing you can guarantee during any festive period, it’s that you’ll see copy carrying a seasonal theme. You know the type of thing, ‘eggstaordinary offers’ around Easter, ‘these treats are no trick’ around Hallowe’en and so on. But Christmas is the time of year it’s most prevalent.

Well-worn lines, old puns, and Yulified (is that a word?) copy galore.

So much so that ‘Christmas Copy Bingo’ is now an annual game played by copywriters around the world – merrily (see what we did there?) acknowledging one predictable cliché after another until we all decide to give up writing and go live on a remote island somewhere.

A rogue’s gallery.

The perennial worst offender has to be: ‘We’ve got Christmas all wrapped up’. But other baddies include:
• ‘Check out our Christmas crackers’
• ‘Fill your stocking with these fantastic offers’
• ‘‘tis the season to (insert brand appropriate messaging)
• ‘the gift that keeps giving’
• ‘dreaming of’
• any use of ‘trimmings’ or ‘countdown’.

Check out #ChristmasCopyBingo on Twitter and see how many instances of “wrapped up” have been spotted recently, and find some other awful B2C examples out there.

One of the first rules of advertising copy is to avoid puns, so why do so many copywriters turn their backs on their craft, and believe these phrases are either compelling or imaginative?

Be more Scrooge.

Fortunately, we B2B copywriters aren’t under as much pressure as our colleagues in B2C to conform to the Yule rule. For them, denying those clients that insist on Christmas clichés must be tricky. But if you’re a B2C or even a B2B copywriter who’s tempted (or pressured) to go down the Yuletide route, maybe it’s time to say “bah humbug” (we know, we know), and remind yourself what’s unique about the brands you write for, and maintain the right tone of voice. After all, the target audience is likely to be just as tired of clichés, and will most likely shrug their shoulders as they turn the page or click away from such copy.

So, just stay focused on clients’ tone of voice, keep thinking about whether your copy will be useful or interesting, and enjoy a great Christmas. Oh, and while we remember, let’s all do our best to avoid ‘new year, new you’, ‘new year, new start’, and ‘new year’s resolutions’ – in fact, ‘new year, new anything at all’.

Why not play ‘Christmas Copy Bingo’ yourself, and share what you find here?

Read more on B2B copywriting from OgilvyOne Business' Creative Director, Simon Fraser, here.

Follow @OOBcopy if you would like to keep in touch with the musings and opinions of seven wordies that write long, short and conceptual copy for major B2B brands.