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Be a chameleon (nailing tone of voice in spec ads)

Hi, it's ME - Brianna again.

Well well well, you’ve been given a brief. Or you’re making up one to show off your skill, which in that case, bravo! Let em rip!

Better terms: the BRAND PERSONA. These are the characteristics, traits and quirks that go along with a brand. 

Easy example here: Burger King versus Mcdonald's.

I mean, look at him: that boisterous king that waltzed around in that frivolous crown. Crowning kids with paper ones who are complaining about the fries not being as good as Micky D’s.

That guy, he’s CONFIDENT.

He’s bold.

Remember that ad where they showed a moldy burger to try and compete with Mcdonalds?

Yeah, they’re OUT THERE.

They aren’t afraid to be a little edgy with their TOV. 

McDonalds? I mean, cmon, they serve happy meals. They’re inclusive – they just wanna get along with everyone, be family friendly and are all around happy go lucky. ‘I’m Lovin It’ rests my case.

Ofc you’re not going to go around calling either of them an “upscale bistro” or usin’ any of that shmancy fancy language for fast food.

But two different approaches need to be taken: Burger King being bold means you could write a rap about their whoppers or put some sassy diss talk on Twitter/X.

You wouldn’t do this for Mcdonalds because that just doesn’t match their brand persona, aka the equivalent of a granny just trying to feed everyone her kinda-burnt cookies that probably fell on the floor. 

McDonalds Granny is never putting out a diss track in the way that THE Burger King would with his whole chest.

(Writers note: no hate to either brand. I just live for the tea)

You getting my gist here?

SO, we’ve established the identity of the brand. Now what?

Well, m’dear, this is what I said about being a chameleon. To emulate their tone, we must be CONSISTENT.

Does the brand write in American english or English english?

What is their sentence variation like, do they write short punchy lines or get a bit flowery with longer lines?

Do they typically sound casually colloquial, or are they serious and formal? 

Do your proper research and take a look across channels – how does their website copy differ from a social media post or an out of home ad? This shall clue you to how they like speaking to their audience in different spaces.

Which leads me to remind you: remember their audience.

That’s really cool and all that you think putting an out of home ad at bus stops will work for Ikea in the prairies of Nebraska (we don't have public transportation OR Ikea smh) or putting ads into newspapers for Thailand’s tourism board (idk maybe the elderly are in their solo ‘finding themselves’ travel era) – but REMEMBER WHO YOU’RE TALKIN’ TO AND WHERE THEY ARE.

There’s always the possibility to find a new audience, sorta like how Stanley pivoted from gearing their cups to men into suddenly making them assorted colors and putting them in Target causing mass hysteria amongst millennial women –

BUUUUT the brand you’re writing for has spent time cultivating an audience, so it's important to continue speaking to them.


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