What does "copy-heavy" actually mean?

Benno Maggi explains in his column "What does... actually mean?" terms from the field of marketing and communications. This time he shares his thoughts on the adjective "copy-heavy" - and the problem behind this term.


Who doesn't know the situation in brainstorming sessions where ideas just don't want to bubble up properly? People are Googling, leafing through old Lürzer's archives or ADC books from foreign countries, or raving about old creative achievements. And still no clever new idea wants to be born. Until suddenly, out of nowhere, the ingenious copy comes along that everyone is immediately enthusiastic about. The bright red lifebelt in the concrete-grey sea of mediocrity. "Ingenious" is the word - and relief spreads, convincing each other that this really is a good idea that should be pursued further. What is not considered in the process: The idea is "copy-heavy. But what does that mean exactly?

One-hit wonder instead of 360-degree idea

One-hit wonders, that's what performers who only manage one hit in their career are called - and actually describes exactly what copy-heavy ideas also are. The entire burden of the advertising campaign or even 360-degree communication weighs heavily (heavy) on this one brilliant headline (copy). Everyone agreed in the brainstorming session that it was really good. But only for this one time, this one ad. By the way, copy-heavy are also picture or film ideas that only work if they come with package inserts in the form of letters.

When the Juniors and Assis then try to craft a campaign out of it that's good for more, they are almost crushed by the weight, while the creators have long since been hanging loosely in the early aperitif or have said goodbye to the long weekend. Instead of self-critically questioning one's own idea and making a new attempt, the creative burden is delegated to the shoulders of the subordinates, where it then weighs as heavy as lead. Fortunately, there are always talented designers among them who can still pull the thing out with a casual typo. This makes the campaign not only copy-heavy, but also typo-heavy. So it's better to declare the Rolling Stones the Northstar than Las Ketchup when developing a campaign.

Benno Maggi is co-founder and CEO of Partner & Partner. He has been eavesdropping on the industry for over 30 years, discovering words and terms for us that can either be used for small talk, pomposity, excitement, playing Scrabble or just because.

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