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The Power of Copy

"This chair was built for breaking things."

In writing, there is nothing like a strong refrain. It's why songs have choruses, right? The intention is to drive home a particular theme or point, with repetition. The goal for any writing stands: Make it simple and make it powerful. Yes, that includes brand and copywriting. Great, artful copy can be simple, beautiful, and effectively promote your brand while talking about something else, on the surface.

That is what BWM's ad featuring 4x Paralympian and World Champion wheelchair racer Josh George does. The ad, titled "Built For Gold", debuted during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and ran throughout. Check it out below:

The copy is utterly poetic – actor Chris Pine's voice is grizzled and almost unrecognizable as the narrator, capturing a grit and toughness that is the spirit of the entire piece. The image of Josh George is already striking, leaning forward in his BMW-made chair, speeding down a cornfield-flanked road. To match that refrain, the ad gives the viewer an equally "simple yet compelling" visual. The seemingly endless road is the only location and George, hands on the push rims, is the only subject.

Outside of the repetition of the opening phrase, a beautiful nod to breaking athletic records and barriers, the rest of the copy calls upon the imagery of machinery and craftsmanship. The perfect word choice in the language serves as a way to blur the lines between engineering and anatomy. The words act as a bridge, common ground, between George's athletic power and BMW's expert engineering.

What is the point of the ad, though? Clearly, BWM is in the business of selling cars, so is that what this ad aims to do? Well, yes and no. There is also a concurrent lesson in using great copy to advertise your brand as something greater than its most known product. BWM, in this particular piece, highlights its services as a proud partner. It is in the writing that the ad finds a way to respectfully communicate the prowess of George and BMW, simultaneously. That is, after all, the goal of a marketing partnership.

"A tool designed by the world's best engineers."

Ah! There it is. Tastefully placed in the copy is a reference back to BMW and what they do. With this line, the car manufacturer is positioned as having the world's best engineers on their team, and all of a sudden it makes sense. With a poem, BWM is telling you that they matched the incredible will of an elite athlete with their own elite craftsmanship. And it is that same craftsmanship that goes into all that they create – including those cars that made them a premiere company.

"…to dismantle, destroy, and dominate. Driven by will of steel and destined to chase gold."

This ad serves as a great example of what great and poetic language can do for your brand, as well as the brand of your partner or any cause your company supports. It is beautiful and links ideas about power, skill, and craft to each of the entities involved. BMW rarely features advertising without their cars in it, but this is a welcome exception. And because of great copywriting (and an amazing racer!), they still get the point across that they specialize in drive and engineering. 

Whether you're a small business or a corporation like BMW, making sure you have the right people to tell your story in an ad could allow your brand to transcend the normal pitch. Great copy can even allow you the freedom to not overtly sell anything – and instead let your knowledge of your craft speak for itself. Of course – poetry doesn't hurt!

"...together we will have built something great.
The ultimate driving machine.
"