Ad of the week – Waterstones

by Stratton Craig

image overlay

Surrounded by a constant blur of images and multimedia effects, it’s refreshing to see top contemporary adverts that still rely on words. We’ve been admiring the ads from one of Britain’s leading booksellers for some time now, and not only do Waterstones share our passion for the written word – they’re pretty good at using it for themselves.
The most recent ad to catch our eye is deceptively simple, but packed with meaning.
‘Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop. Ironically.’
Though we’d beg to differ (and we’d give it our best shot, should Waterstones be in need of copywriters), the ad  is humorous enough to raise a smile, whether seen at a blustery tube station or just at home. The irony of using a plain background and focusing on words is not lost on the Waterstones audience, but the poignant message – that corporeal books in a physical shop are still important – comes through strongly.    
As publishers and booksellers become increasingly digital, Waterstones mounts a firm defence of the traditional paperback in its natural home, again by using crisp copy that resonates. Standing up to the e-reader revolution, the use of an eye design is a clever touch as is the smaller, more ‘inferior’ buffering symbol, which doubles as a subtle full stop.
Waterstones hasn’t idly watched the changes to the industry go by. The company stocks e-readers in its bookshops, and has a strong online presence. But by implementing an advertising campaign that uses clever wordplay to defend bookshops, Waterstones reaffirms that whether you’re selling face-to-face, or in the digital world, words come first.

Sign up to hear from us