Monday, August 26, 2019

Direct vs Indirect Copy

Let’s talk copy. 

See that ^, that’s direct copywriting, how’d that grab your attention? 

Direct marketing works, but so does indirect marketing. But how do you know when to use which? There is no doubt a place for both forms in your marketing strategy and we’re about to break down the time and place for each. Interested? 

Before we get into the juicy stuff, let’s start by establishing the difference between direct and indirect copy. There’s nothing we love more than a cheeky metaphor, so… Consider the difference between a movie and a book, we’ll go with Harry Potter because it’s the best book ever written & if you don’t think so, you're a monster, Voldemort even. Yeah, we said it, no creepy wizard can scare us. Anyway, we digress. The point is, when you read a book you’re not just passively consuming the story, you have to think. You can’t see what Hogwarts looks like or exactly what shade of red Harry’s scar is. You have to use your imagination and actively engage with J.K.’s description, paying close attention so that you can construct the scene in your head. We don’t have to do this when we watch the movie. We can see exactly what everything looks like and sounds like, there’s little left to the imagination. All we have to do is kick back and munch on a family-sized tub of buttery popcorn (unless you’re one of those strange humans that possesses self-control). 

Indirect copy is a book and direct copy is a movie.  

Now we’ve got that sorted, we will refrain from referencing Harry Potter again. Promise!


Even though we’re bookworms ourselves, there’s a place for direct copy. If you have a solid Unique Selling Point (USP), then you don’t always need to take an indirect approach. But the question is, do you really have a solid USP? A lot of brands think they have these amazing hooks or value propositions, but the truth is, unless you’ve created something original and better than all your direct AND indirect competitors, that’s simply not the case. 

A really great time to use direct copy is during a sale when you have a strong hook that speaks for itself. “50% off sitewide”. boom. 

Using direct copy at TOF is also a good idea. When you hit a cold audience you should always make sure it’s clear what you’re selling. You’ll get some customers who immediately buy and others who need a little more convincing, this audience will be taken through the funnel and retargeted with some more persuasive marketing techniques, that is, if you have an effective strategy in play. 


In case you didn’t notice, we have a soft spot for indirect copy. Why? Because it’s harder to write well and we love a challenge. 

Old mate, Aristotle said that there are three means of persuasion: ethos (credibility), logos (logical reasoning) and pathos (emotion and psychology). Know which one is most effective? Pathos. 

So yeah, you can list all the great features about your product with direct copy, OR you can tell a story, make them connect on an emotional level and tap into their psyche. 

In an age when we are being bombarded with ads, indirect copy stands out and DISRUPTS the feed. We are well attuned to direct marketing, we’ve been seeing it for years and it used to work a lot better than it does now but we’ve evolved, and our marketing tactics have to as well. Indirect copy makes consumers stop and think “wait, is this an ad or not?” 

Indirect copy is particularly useful for retargeting ads - for the cookies that are tough to crack and need to be convinced. Indirect copy forces them to engage with your brand, to think about what they’re reading and form an emotional attachment to your product. It also shows them that you’re more than just the product you’re selling. That your brand has its own personality, values and attitudes. It humanizes your brand. So when your customer is deciding between your t-shirt and that other brands, they’ll choose yours, because you’re more than just that t-shirt, you're the brand that made them laugh, engaged them with witty anecdotes, made them grow fond of your company. Just like Hermoine grew to love absolute dingbat Ronald Weasley. Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.