Conterintuitive Copy – Why this company reveals how to make their product on your own

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There I am innocently perusing Facebook and then…  woah! Good copy alert.

Yes, I’m a nerd, buuuuuut… Check it:

So I did what completely normal people do (right?)… and broke this down quick by asking 4 questions:

  • What are they saying?
  • Who are they speaking to?
  • What is the voice?
  • Does it work?

1. Why are they saying?

The message is pretty clear — these bars are so simple that anyone could make them.

Things they didn’t say out loud (because they didn’t have to):

  • All-natural
  • No chemicals/preservatives/weird stuff
  • Made with only two ingredients
  • Healthy
  • Tastes good

My favorite part is that this is so counter-intuitive… why would they tell people how to make their product? That can be answered by looking closely at their market.

2. Who are they speaking to?

Larabar’s market is mainly the “crunchy mom” — the mom who wants to live a healthy lifestyle and give her kids wholesome, gmo-free, real foods.

How can we tell that’s who this ad is speaking to? First off, the main image is of a food processor.

These are the type of moms that made their own babyfood… or, even more relevant — moms who pinned babyfood recipes with the intent of making their own babyfood. See the distinction there and why the second group would be so receptive to this ad?

Larabar says implicitly: “This bar is as healthy as if you made it yourself… but you can buy it at a gas station.” And more subtly, “You can have the dream life of your Pinterest board within your real life that does not include sourcing organic dates nor finally opening your $399 Cuisinart gathering dust in your cabinet.”

3. What is the voice?

This one is a little tricky in such a short video but we have a few clues. Using cadence, tone, and vocabulary, we can analyze any voice.

First, we have the person speaking. It’s a woman mid-20’s to mid-30’s. She has a gentle tone. She’s speaking like she’s giving a little life hack or secret tip to a friend.

Her vocabulary is basic. She even makes grammar mistakes like “DIY your own” (Do It Yourself Your Own?)

Her cadence is slow. And she sounds very reassuring.

We can verify this with how the account communicates with commenters:

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You almost “hear” the voice in the video writing the comments below — which is key to having a recognizable voice. It should permeate all of your communications with the customer.

4. Does it work?

So everything above is nice, but we always need to ask… does this approach work for this market?

This video is done in the same style as the “Tasty” videos that have recently taken Facebook by storm. This is intentional. Just like how they use Pinterest, this market loves to save projects for the day on the horizon when they become “that mom.” (I know, because I’m in this market).

Check out the FB comments above. The people in their market are responding. They are engaged. They are enthusiastic.

Which is exactly what happens when you have a product people love with a voice they recognize and relate to.

BTW, Saddleback bags did a version of this approach with their own twist and voice… which makes me wonder. How could we use this approach in our copy?

Let me know your thoughts. Does this work? How could you make it work as a copywriter, or fitness coach, or _____?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

This is Abbey’s first article on Copy Chief. To get a free digital download of her new book on finding, honing, and making the most of your unique writing voice, head over to her site.

 

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Abbey Woodcock
Abbey Woodcock
Abbey Woodcock has been a direct response copywriter since 7th grade when she wrote a 30-page sales letter asking her crush to the dance. Since then, she's converted better... writing sales pages and emails you've probably read from some of the biggest names online. She's also a chainsaw instructor and mom to 2 awesome kiddos in Upstate NY. You can find her at onlifeandwriting.com.
Showing 10 comments
  • Cathy Goodwin
    Reply

    Yes, it works!

    After all, many excellent cooks will order dinner from GrubHub. Restaurant chefs often eat out on their days off.

    Fitness trainers take each other’s group classes at my gym.

    I was doing copy coaching at a live event, where a famous copywriter was teaching the basics of copywriting. She held nothing back. I held nothing back when I coached people on their individual projects.

    But several of the people said, “What this has taught me is, I need to hire a copywriter. I won’t do this myself.”

    • Abbey Woodcock
      Reply

      Cathy, yes! I agree. It’s the debate that never seems to end about competition vs. cooperation. Your colleagues don’t have to be your “competition.” If we all share everything we know…. we all do better!

      I am 100% in the school of share everything you can. I have 10+ years of writing… I could share everything I could think of for an entire 8-hour day and still not have even scratched the surface of my value. The more you give, the more they want (or that’s been my experience anyway).

  • April Dykman
    Reply

    Great post, Abbey.

    Another way to use this idea of revealing the secret sauce is like “here’s how to do this for yourself, in 27 complicated, time-consuming steps,” OR you could just hire us/buy our product/etc. and have all of that done for you. You know. Either way. 🙂

    • Abbey Woodcock
      Reply

      Thanks, April! Yes, we see the “27 complicated steps” tactic a lot and particularly in the Saddleback video linked above. I think Jay Abraham promotes is as “teaching your audience to revere your work.” Your work (whatever that is) is way more valuable when people get to see behind the scenes. Example: “This product took me 5 months and over $40,000 to develop so you don’t have to do that. You only pay $97.”

  • Scott McKinstry
    Reply

    Hi Abbey,
    Good breakdown. I especially liked your analysis on all the things the video didn’t need to say … like the mom who posts projects on Pinterest for “someday.” Important point.

    • Abbey Woodcock
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Scott. Human behavior is a funny thing … and it takes deep understanding of the market to communicate this way. I thought Larabar was spot on with this and shows they “get” their market better than often the market knows themselves. I doubt the target market for this ad would intuitively describe themselves the way I did above.

  • Neary Heng
    Reply

    That is incredible insights. Thanks for the break down this 24 seconds ads. I used to hate Ads in any form of medium. Now, I can’t believe myself that I give more attentions to ads. It’s the psychology behind them what got me interested.

    • Abbey Woodcock
      Reply

      Thanks Neary! Even when I was a kid, I loved watching the commercials. Ads often reflect society in a way that no other medium can. It comes from understanding peoples’ motivations and deepest emotions.

  • Ross O'Lochlainn
    Reply

    Great stuff Abbey.

    I love how you’re able to reverse engineer who their ideal client is from such a small amount of content!

    This would make a great exercise for folks 🙂

  • Melanie Saladino
    Reply

    I’m that mom who makes her own Larabars. My daughter got me hooked on the idea.

    But the most important thing we learned from making our own bars is this: Now that we’ve done it once, we can buy them at the store… and still feel like rockstars.

    Larabar’s “Sure you can do it, but why would you?” message is embarrassingly effective at getting me to buy their bars AND feel awesome about it. 🙂

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