If Marketing Copy Won Oscars, These Standouts Would Sweep the Awards

Estimated reading time: 13 minute(s)

’Tis the season! Awards season, that is, and no there’s no bigger awards than the Oscars. But just because marketing copywriters can’t do 18 variations of a regional Australian accent—Hello, Meryl!—and look as good in a tux as Clooney (or do we?), doesn’t mean we don’t deserve applause for our work.

Thus we present the Marketing Oscars (aka the MOs), where we celebrate the best marketing content writing in history. Among the winners are native ads, brand lines, digital publications, and more. Without further ado, the MOs go to…

Best Elevation of Banal Subject With Bada$$ Content:

The Furrow, John Deere

The Furrow, a print magazine published by John Deere since 1895, was created to increase sales of the company’s farm equipment. In the beginning, its pages resembled those of the Farmer’s Almanac, offering dozens of reasons why John Deere disc plows were better than their competitors, and serving up artwork celebrating America’s agricultural workers.

Today, The Furrow’s print magazine focuses on farming, while its website produces exclusive music videos and travel stories. The latter attracts a broad audience, including new, young, and urban farmers with little to no previous awareness of John Deere products.

Best Tag Line:

Tulo, “One Is Not a Choice”

This 2018 Webby Award Winner challenged the oversaturated mattress delivery market by suggesting that the one-size-fits-all mattress its 30-plus competitors offered was a sham. With clever, laugh-out-loud voice overs, print ads, and web content, Tulo tapped into the American identity (I’m special!) and experience (choices are unlimited).

Best Invocation of Brevity as Essence of Wit: iPad Air 2


When it comes to distilling big ideas in bite-sized brand lines, nobody does it better than Apple. Consider the below descriptions of its iPad Air 2 benefits.

  • Ingenuity makes it thin. Aluminum makes it strong.
  • Not just a thinner display. A better display.
  • Massive power. In its most minimal form.
  • Security based on a one-of-a-kind design: your fingerprint.

Each of these speaks to a specific user need—design, display, performance, and security (in that order)—and each explains, in fewer characters than your average tweet, why the iPad Air 2 is distinct from its predecessor and better than its competitors. Apple does, of course, go deep into specs following each brand line, but what consumers remember isn’t the what, it’s the why (as in, ‘why I need this product’).

Also notable is the one-of-a-kind design/fingerprint correlation, which creates an exclusive bond between product and buyer. It says “We’re the same, you and me. We’re unique, you and me. And we belong together, you and me.”

Taken together, these brand lines capture the prospective buyer’s imagination and leave an indelible mark on the mind.

Best Visual Effects:

Intrepid Travel, an adventure tour company in Melbourne Australia, knows how to paint a picture. Through repetition and simple, evocative words, its introduction (below) conjures images of authentic experiences and emotional journeys that connect travelers to the world around them. (Noteworthy, too, is how this language speaks to Intrepid Travel’s demographic: cosmopolitan go-getters who want the insider knowledge a tour guide provides without the white socks and sandals that typically accompany it.)

Phrases like “small group” and “real life” tell the reader s/he won’t be snapping photos from inside a bus, and “travel the local way, eat the local way, and sleep the local way” reinforces the company’s ‘off the beaten path’ ethos. It all adds up to a picture inside the reader’s mind: one of him or herself alone on a dirt road with a backpack, blue skies, and a sense of wonder.

Best Content/Product/Publication Synergy:

Cocaineomics, Netflix & The Wall Street Journal

Cocaineomics promoted the Netflix series Narcos with unique related content on The Wall Street Journal’s website. It worked because it was exceptionally high-quality content, including videos, charticles, infographics, longform features, and maps, that spoke to both the show’s subject matter and the WSJ’s demographic, which is known for its intellectual curiosity and cultural savvy.

By emphasizing historical and political aspects of the drug trade, the content was simultaneously sensational and smart, and it breathed new life into a subject matter rendered stale by excessive news, TV, and film coverage. The campaign also leveraged the WSJ’s vast audience. Thus, it was a sharp tactical play by Netflix. This is the first MO for all parties.

Speaking of award-worthy marketing content… we were recently recognized as a top Content Marketing & Copywriting Company on DesignRush. So if you want blockbuster copy that shines a spotlight on your brand, talk to the writers at MarketSmiths pronto.

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Amanda Cargill

Amanda Cargill is a Brooklyn-based writer, video producer, and marketing communications strategist specializing in food, travel, culture and lifestyle content in domestic, multicultural, and international markets.

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