Copywriting That Respects Customers - Deliberate Ink

I’ve spoken about showing respect for readers in general, but here I’d like to focus on customers who are reading your marketing collateral in particular.

The following was on a Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Honey Nut cereal box I purchased recently. No need to read the entire thing, but there’s a reason I’m posting almost all of it. 

An ingredient list that is so good, we have nothing to hide.

Wouldn’t it be great if it were easy to understand what is in your food? With post shredded wheat, it’s easy to be confident with your breakfast choice. It is made with nothing but goodness, so go ahead and enjoy a bowl.

Made with 100% natural whole grain wheat: we made it easy to understand what is in your food–we start with the natural goodness of whole grain wheat.

No artificial flavors or colors added: our flavor comes from 100% whole grain wheat, honey, almonds, molasses and real sugar. That means vitamin and mineral fortified post shredded wheat honey nut contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients.

Natural source of fiber: every bowl contains 6 grams of natural fiber from whole grain wheat. Never artificial fiber.

Bite-sized health tip: nutritionists recommend eating at least 48 grams of whole grains a day. Instead of counting servings, enjoy one bowl of post shredded wheat honey nut. With 49 grams of whole grains per serving, you’ll get 100% of what you need for the day in just one bowl! Simple things to feel good each day: post shredded wheat is one of the simple things you can do to feel good each day.

Heart health: diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Digestive health: diets rich in fiber have many benefits and are important for maintaining digestive health.

Reduced cancer risk: low fat diets rich in fiber-containing grain products, fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, a disease associated with many factors.

The message is pretty much the same you would find on any cereal box: cereal is good for you and tastes good, too. But the way it’s presented provides a lot more context for the target consumers.

Format. Health issues are always in the news, and especially the ones this box calls attention to using a “newspaper-clipping” design. Using a hot topic as context for your conversation with your customers appeals to their sense of topicality. The brand doesn’t pretend current nutritional concerns aren’t a hot topic with eaters who care today. It points out that this cereal is not involved in some of the most high profile cases of controversy like high fructose corn syrup or grains that aren’t whole.

It’s loooong! This is wordier than the average box of cereal–I actually cut out two paragraphs in the middle. People who buy Shredded Wheat care about breakfast. And honestly, I know I probably spend a bit more time just chewing than the average corn-flake eater: it’s a substantial spoonful. This box takes advantage of the captive audience Post has for a few minutes at least–a far cry from the seconds and even microseconds the same consumer will allot in online encounters, or in a sweeping glance down the cereal aisle. So Post didn’t throw a slogan and a few buzz words about health on the box. And I read every word.

Language. Kids and teens aren’t usually the target of cancer-prevention tips, so the language here isn’t all common denominator. Phrases are a bit more bulky, and there are a lot of compound sentences instead of short, snappy ones. This is a subtler way of showing respect: these kinds of consumers think of themselves as intelligent decision-makers. A more grown-up delivery of the brand’s message cues the “adult conversation” mindset, and engages the people Post is really after.

Photo credit: Adam Gerard, courtesy Flickr, CC 2.0.

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