Good ideas

Grolsch gets personal with your mobile message

Note: I updated this piece on after realising the experience works for everyone – not just people who’ve previously registered on the Grolsch website.

The beer might not stand out from the crowd, but Grolsch has created a clever experience which links email, online video and text messaging.

The campaign centres around a fictional policeman, Journt, who’s giving away packs of Grolsch. It’s not entirely clear why the cops would be handing out free booze, but let’s not dwell on that for now.

To explain further, the firm sent an email to people who’d previously registered on its website:

“To enter the prize draw visit our new website and meet Journt. If Journt knows your name, he will give you some free Grolsch! Simply visit to find out more…”

The clever bit comes when you click through the Grolsch website. A short video plays showing the mysterious Journt sat at a bar. He invites you to text your name to the number shown on his business card:

Journt's business card

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be nervous about whipping out your smart phone and texting your name to this Journt character. I’m wary of giving my mobile details to companies because spam text messages bug me.

But if you do take the plunge and send your name, within a matter of seconds, some nifty computer code has received your message and displayed it beautifully in the video window. The result is that you see Journt reading your message:

Grolsch text message

I’ve not seen SMS and web technology joined up quite like this before, and I’m impressed. There’s a definite moment of surprise when your message pops up on screen, particularly as it’s such a fast, smooth, polished experience.

As a nice conclusion to the experience, Journt taps out a message on his phone – which then arrives on your handset a few seconds later. If you’re lucky, he’ll tell you that you’ve won some free beer.

It hasn’t got me gasping for a Grolsch (I’m more likely to enjoy a Meantime Wheat Beer or similar), but it’s certainly raised the brand’s prominence in my mind. As a campaign to boost awareness of Grolsch, it works well.

Two great tabloid headlines that caught my eye

One of the most popular posts on this blog is my list of favourite tabloid headlines. I believe writing great headlines is an art – one that I hope doesn’t get killed off by our obsession with cramming as many keywords into web page titles as possible.

I was just flicking back through some old photos on my phone and noticed a couple of headlines I’ve snapped that are too good not to share. The first is from earlier this year, when anchorman Richard Keys left his job at Sky Sports. It’s short, to the point, and absolutely nails the story:

But it’s the second that I’m more impressed with. Cast your mind back to last autumn and one of the year’s rare good news stories.

Now, imagine you’re a sub-editor at The Sun. How are you going to lead on the story? Would it occur to you to take the name of a band, then carefully change a word here and there to result in a headline of wit and beauty?

No, me neither. You might sometimes question the quality of tabloid journalism, but you can’t deny the intelligence of their headlines.

(Read about some other great tabloid headlines that I’ve spotted.)

When should a web copywriter work for free?

Giveaway signIn common with many freelance copywriters, I get quite a few enquiries from people asking me to do some free web copywriting for them. Occasionally the answer might be ‘yes’, but mostly it’s ‘no’.

That’s why I love this flowchart from Jessica Hische. She’s pretty much nailed the decision-making process I go through when considering whether I should give up my time for free.

If you’re a fellow freelancer, read it and laugh, cry or chuckle in that cynical way that only world-weary freelancers can. If you’re a potential client, take a look too – maybe it’ll give you an insight into what life working freelance is like. Or maybe it’ll just give you a laugh. Either’s good.

Large version here. Hat tip to the always-amazing swissmiss.

(Image from Newsbie Pix under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.)