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18 . 11 . 20

Long copy revival

Words by: Print Power
In a world of instant messaging, texts, Twitter tweets, ebooks, podcasts, mini books, video and digital everything, there is something interesting occurring. In the past several months, as the coronavirus and America’s coming face-to-face with racism and inequality are constant news, brands have taken to long form print ads, that is, full page, full-worded communications.

Larry Light, a seasoned advertising agency executive and marketer, with senior positions at IHG, McDonald’s and BBDO writes about a trend in the USA. He notices a stark increase in long copy print advertising.

The majority of these full-length, full-page communications are focused on betterment while some are attempts at rectifying past corporate behaviors. It used to be that these long-form ads were normal. But with the proliferation of digital, short-form communications were considered the best way to speak to people. Discussions about people’s capacity for anything longer than a minute or two captured the attention of brand leaders and marketers. But, all of that seems to have changed, at least for the moment. The recent Sunday New York Times carried at least six different long-form print ads with actual copy, one of which was a two-page spread from MasterCard.

It is quite astonishing that one of the outcomes of the pandemic and the cries for change is the reappearance of full-page print ads in newspapers, a medium that was supposed to be dead. Along with our reintroduction to Campbell’s Soup and Kraft American Cheese, we are taking a (literal) page from an advertising approach that is over 50 years old.

Long-form full-page print ads may be the path of least resistance when it comes to understanding what brands are actually doing, how brands are activating their promised commitments. Perhaps seeing the commitments in writing is stronger than seeing a commitment in 10 seconds.
Larry Light
CEO of Arcature

During Covid times brands have changed their communications and their channels. Long copy might be the way forward for information-seeking consumers.

“Brands have a lot to say and positions to articulate. These times seem to require communications that are not limited to 145 characters or a 15-second information flash or a single, albeit impactful, visual. People want to know what their brands stand for. They want to know what actions brand are taking to deal with disease and divisiveness. Since we live in an information-seeking environment, long copy may be the best way to tell a brand’s story when customers want more. After all, content is king.

It may be that as our world becomes more complex and uncertain, we need the support for decision-making and brand assessment that can only come with more information. We may have to actually spend time and effort to gain information to help us in choice situations.”

Read the full article, first published in Fortune here.