The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Even John Dodds Would [Hopefully] Be Frightened By This …
October 13, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Long Copy

So recently I saw this on my Facebook feed …

I don’t know about you, but I was a bit shocked.

No, not at how impressed some teenager was about the male genitals of an Octopus, but the fact they thought 48 words was defined as a long read.


OK, so I appreciate you think reading 10 words on my blog is long, but come on … seriously, 48 words made to sound like it’s War & Peace?!

I know John Dodds and I have a slightly differing opinion on long copy [ie: he thinks it shouldn’t exist, I think it’s not about the length of the copy, but the content of the copy] but I’m hoping even he would say this is a bit of an extremist view.

God, who am I kidding …


28 Comments so far
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Comment by

I think it sums up agency client relationships quite nicely.

Comment by John

Size isn’t everything.

Comment by Clive, 6th Baron Wetshod twice removed.

It’s like a twisted version of Lorrena Bobbitt.

Comment by George

At least the male octopus has a female to throw his penis at.

Comment by DH

This says something about you I’m not entirely comfortable with knowing Dave. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I’ve just made all your dreams come true.

Comment by DH

As for it being a long read. Well obviously that’s nonsense, but it does exemplify the reason why I’m right about long copy. Good content is just table stakes. Context is everything.

Comment by John

Sadly John, good content is not table stakes. It should be, but it isn’t. But I don’t understand your point about context if your argument is about the reluctance to read long copy. Or are you saying long copy on a Facebook feed could well be 48 words while on Robert’s blog, it is 2,427,890 words?

Comment by George

I was being too cute there. What I mean is that in some increasingly rare cases, some people will read long copy but that context is one of high existing engagement and thus lies outside the realm of “advertising”.

I don’t know if the UK version of the VW apology is the same as the US one, but even that short piece of long copy was offputting. I’d be amazed if many people read all of it, and not at all surprised if the vast majority of readers didn’t even start to read it.

Every word has to count. The longer the copy, the greater the chance that that won’t be the case and my interest will drop off a cliff.

As someome who reads a lot every day, I’m not happy about this. I’m just saying that I think that’s how it is and marketers have to behave accordingly.

Comment by John

you will never be fucking cute doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree completely. I was going to retract that sentence but didn’t bother because I knew I could rely on you to point that out.

Comment by John

TL:DR We live in a micro-messaging, short copy culture.

Comment by John

I think you mean a segment of society live in a micro-messaging culture. I admit they are a large segment of society, but it is most definitely not all society.

Comment by George

I agree John that ‘every word must count’ … but who makes that decision? Sure there’s a bunch of superfluous stuff out there [hell, I contribute a good percentage of it] but I also worry that the more brutal editing we embrace, the more we become like everyone else … communicating using a small group of meaningless words, designed to sound powerful but ultimately meaning absolutely fuck-all.

Comment by Rob

Yes that’s the risk. And it has to be avoided. I’m not saying micro-messaging is the solution, but rather that because of that culture long copy is to be avoided. Write as much as you have to and no more.

Let’s not forget that outside your offices lies a very different world. Twenty to thirty percent of homes have no books in them. Increasingly on public transport, you see people who are not reading save for texts. Magazine and newspaper sales have collapsed. People are impatient with words.

Comment by John

Funny, because outside my office is a world filled with books because in China, for all the use of technology, the tradition of books and reading has not lost its place or value.

And yes, I am being a smartarse because I know what you were trying to say and which cultural context you were referring too.

Comment by Rob

Funny, because you’re rarely inside your office.

Comment by John

I have to agree with you Rob, 48 words should never be described as long copy. But for 15 year old drug popping car thieves it is because they don’t communicate in words anymore, just grunts and emojis. I would have thought you knew that as Mr Planner Boy.

Comment by DH

I want to come back as a male octopus.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Given the lack of contact that implies, I’m sure the females ofthe species would be delighted if you did.

Comment by John

what the fuck do you mean you want to come back as an octopus, all the women of america already think your hands act like one. dirty bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

sounds like my ex, except she tried to take my cock and throw it back at me. she belonged in the fucking sea as well.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sorry Rob, I’d love to comment but I’m still traumatised by yesterdays video.

Comment by Pete

It’s only Tuesday, but this is already the best news I will have heard all week.

Comment by Rob

The average film has got longer, the average viewing time of video has got longer
People can be bothered with stuff if it’s any good.

Comment by northern

Yes. But that’s art not commerce. And it’s visual not literary.

Comment by John

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