2 hour consult for only $55

Who says government doesn’t do anything for small business! I’m rapt to announce that the Federal Funding has come through — which means I can help small businesses with a small budget, once again.

Does your business qualify?
Some of you have already had my help on a budget, but this is a brand new round of funding which means we wipe the slate clean and you can apply again. Now, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch which means that there are a few hoops to jump through, and unfortunately not all businesses qualify. But all the details are on my website — just follow the links from the home page.


Save over $200
If you’d like to organise your consult or you have any questions, give me a call. My bread and butter comes from larger firms but I do have a big soft spot for small business and sole traders (after all, I am one!) so I would love the opportunity to help you. And please do spread the word.

Please note — numbers are limited.


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A tricky headline burns your chances

This bus stop ad is a great example of a headline SingesHungryThirstythat is way too tricky to get your head around. Don’t agree? Try saying it out loud. See?

For starters, ‘singes’ is a hard word to quickly read and understand, especially when you’re moving at 60km/hr. Singes is very close to the word ‘sings’. To make it even harder for the reader, it’s not a word you’d use frequently. Especially not in a sentence like this.

Writing a headline is hard work and the very best headlines are beautifully simple. The copywriter should be doing the hard work so that they don’t leave the hard work for the consumer. Because if you don’t get your message across fast, your ad simply won’t work as well as it could, you won’t sell as many products and you won’t make as much money as you could. A great reason to make sure your headline sings :)


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Service with a frown

This little sign was up at my local Brighton RanOutOfBasilFoodland the other day when I
went for my weekly shop. I didn’t need basil (I do my fruit and veg shopping at the little fruit and veg shop anyway) but I thought it was a really cute thing to do — for a number of reasons.

  1. It stopped people hunting around for basil when there isn’t any to be found
  2. It gives the business a real personality
  3. They said ‘sorry’ which in my book is a pretty big deal these days.

I cannot count the number of times I would have liked to have got a ‘sorry’ from a sales person and that little word would have made all the difference. Far from being an admission of guilt, the word ‘sorry’ makes you feel that the person understands how you’re feeling and that it’s an inconvenience when they don’t have what you need or they can’t help you. This is a little example of how easy it is to make customers feel that you understand and that you actually care.

Thanks, Brighton Foodland :)

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Are you offended?

One of my clients and blog readers sent me an email last month about an TV commercial that he finds offensive. Here’s a link to the ad…


And here’s what he had to say… “Been having some interesting discussions with people about the overuse (or not) of blaspheming in the new Bank SA campaign. Personally, it drives me insane and seriously turns me off Bank SA. But I was raised strictly never to blaspheme. A reflection on today’s society and/or Bank SA’s target market?”

I, on the other hand, was not offended by that ad at all
I’m not religious and to be honest, I think of it as just a phrase, not blaspheming. I may be wrong, but my experience working with ad agencies leads me to doubt that the writer even considered that anyone would find it offensive. But we’re all individuals with our own point of view and and beliefs and I find it very interesting to hear what other people think. The message I took away from that ad is ‘he’s married an idiot’.

When I brought this topic up with a group of friends, Maxine told me that she makes sure she doesn’t use this phrase when she’s with a particular friend of hers because she knows her friend finds it offensive, as she would this TVC.

But what do you think?
I’d be interested to hear your comments about this. Whether you find this Bank SA ad offensive or not. And if there are any other ads that you do find offensive, please send them in to me. They may be fodder for another post… and another discussion.


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It’s ok — your wife isn’t here!


Being a writer, I tend to read absolutely everything. So when I saw this sign on King William Road at Hyde Park, I just had to pull over, park my car, walk back, and check it out. With all the political correctness of the world, there seem to be fewer places that men or women can escape from the other sex. Because sometimes we just need to. If you don’t believe me, please refer to John Gray’s classic book, ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’. Not to be confused with 50 Shades of Grey, his advice is pretty black and white — a man needs his cave.

My dad and my ex had their shed, but with more and more work being outsourced to VIP or Hire-a-Hubby these days, and backyards getting smaller and smaller, the shed has almost become extinct. So where can a guy go to get away? The barber.

Robbie’s Chop Shop has got it sorted. When I popped my head in to ask if I can take some photos, it was full of men waiting to get in the chair. A totally female-free zone. Which I have to say was a lot quieter than my hairdresser ever was. Not sure if that’s because I stuck my head in, but I suspect it’s probably pretty nice and quiet anyway.

Barber3 Barber2 barber4





The witty words on the A-frame and on the door get the message across in a cheeky way. The big bike parked out the front is probably another great ploy to get attention from blokes driving past. From what I can see, the combination seems to be working.


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Men reasserting themselves

With all the political correctness around, I guess it’s no wonder that we occasionally see an ad that seems to be reasserting the man’s point of view. One is a print ad I saw in Adelaide Matters for the Porsche Cayman GTS. It stated in the headline:



Women want men to show their feelings.
Here you go: The new Cayman GTS.


Now, I thought that was quite clever. Tongue in cheek, it’s playing on a real truth, yes women DO want men to show their feelings and if you insist, dear, here are my feelings. Would this ad offend women? Or do other women think it’s funny? Personally, I love it but let me know your opinion.

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A laundromat café?






What a great idea! Our cruise ship had docked at Hobart and my friend Leah and I were wandering around the artsy Salamanca precinct. We thought it was high time for a coffee and a break from our browsing, when we came across Machine Laundry Café. It was tucked away at the back of a courtyard, underneath quite a few storeys of apartments.

The patrons appeared to be both locals and tourists, and I can imagine the latter using the laundromat, then sitting and having a coffee while their undies go round. Not that you can see that! The layout is well designed as is the advertising, which made me laugh.



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Is old-fashioned service dead?

I’m not a big shopper, but in the leadup to Christmas and during my holidays, I did have lots of spare time and indulged in a little retail therapy, for gifts and for me. Spending all that time in stores was also very interesting research. And led me to the question I have posed as the headline for this blog. Which is a rant. Because much as I would like to continue to support my local bricks-and-mortar stores…

There are times when I just can’t
• Like when I wanted to buy 4 pairs of shoes but was told that the order they’d placed for that style had never come through… so she guessed it looked like they wouldn’t be stocking them this summer.

• Like the fact that even when I want to throw money at a hifi store for a product, they’re not interested in taking my name and calling me when the stock comes in.

• Like the fact that so many stores don’t even have a business card to write info on but instead let their staff scrounge around for some scrap of paper. Seriously?

Online shopping vs bricks-and-mortar shopping
I may be wrong but in my book the MAIN thing that a bricks-and-mortar store has over online shopping is PERSONAL SERVICE. And when you can shoot a cannon through David Jones without hitting a staff member, it really sends a message that service has gone down the drain.

A big thankyou to Smokemart ColonnadesLavaLamp
I threw my old lava lamp out because it had blown a bulb (doh!) and wanted to replace it with one in the same colours. Couldn’t find one around anywhere. While I was buying another colour for a friend (no, I don’t choose friends on the basis that they like lava lamps, but it doesn’t hurt) I happened to mention I wanted a yellow one

The girls in the Smokemart Colonnades upstairs store started asking me questions. Did I need it before Christmas? (No, it was for me.) Did I want the old style or the new style? (Old style.) They offered to take my name and number and a month later, called me to tell me my lamp was in. Service with a smile. Thankyou. Maybe old-fashioned service is not dead, after all.


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Podcast series – Web, words, branding and design

My graphic designer mate, Shane Gill of KIK and I have been collaborating and we’ve come up with a series of 8 podcasts all about Web, words, branding and design. Basically, it’s Shane and me discussing and sometimes disagreeing about all sorts of things, like the topics listed below. They’re pretty short, sharp and shiny chats, most are about 10-12 minutes long so perfect to download and listen to in between doing other stuff.

Podcast Series 1WWBAD

• An intro to web, words, branding and design
• What good graphic design can do for your business
• Logos — how does yours stack up?
• Logo design and rebranding — what to look out for
• What good copywriting can do for your business
• Writing — how to get rid of the blank page
• 3 ways to test your writing
• Different reasons to have a website — what’s yours?

The first 6 are up, and the last 2 will be uploaded Jan/Feb. Last week I got an email from a marketing manager in the UK so we’ve officially gone global! I’m rapt.  :) If you’re a business owner who wants to get some inside information from a couple of horses’ mouths, have a listen. And if you have any comments or other stuff you’d like us to talk about, please do let us know.

Available on iTunes now. https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/web-words-branding-and-design/id931686738


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An ad with no actors, just real people

Every now and then an ad comes along that is not about buying the latest something, but about a message. This ad created by GetUp has what I think is a very important message to everyone living in Australia. There are no actors. Just real people telling their story. That renewable energy is vital to the survival of their region. And they do what good advertising should always do — not just tell you but show you.


From Goulburn to Adelaide
I sent this link to one of my copywriting clients, Yates Electrical Services. http://www.yateselectrical.com They’re a Riverland-based company involved in windfarm installations all around the country. Mark Yates emailed me back to thank me and to let me know that the project featured in the ad was one his team worked on.

A few months ago, I wrote the copy for Mark’s website. So, in a roundabout way, it turns out that a little bit of the money generated by work in renewables across the country in Goulburn has ended up in my bank account in Adelaide and helps my business. See, this is how it works. The flow-on effect is amazing and benefits us all. Maybe not in monetary terms like that but by keeping rural and regional areas of Australia thriving, the whole country benefits. Because we are all linked. The environment and renewable energy and jobs and the economy are all linked.

But don’t just take my word for it
No matter what your politics, no matter who you voted for, take a couple of minutes to check out the ad. Then, if you think these people are talking sense, please pass it on to your network. Thankyou.


The longer ad at the top of the page is the one that shows a number of people in the community. The one going to air on TV is at the bottom of the page and features Charlie, the farmer.

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