Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Phishy copywriting pt. II

Apparently, I've reached the daily limit on my RBS account.

Although even if I had an RBS account, I'm not sure I'd be worried. You don't have to be told by your bank: 'no-one will ever send you emails with sentences that don't begin with capital letters' to know that banks will never send you emails with sentences that don't begin with capital letters. It's just not the done thing.

If you know any spammers or phishers that need help with their copy, don't forget to send them my way. I'll post their efforts here and will even give you a cut if they employ me to sort it out.

Customer Service: Limited Access To Your Online Banking

Dear Member,

When signing on to Online Banking, you or somebody else have
made several login attemps and reached your daily limit.

As an additional security measure your access to Online Banking
has been limited. this web security measure does not affect your
phone banking or ATM banking.

click on log in to Restore Your Account Access and follow the steps

Thank you for using RBS!

The Royal Bank Of Scotland Group

© 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Phishy sloppywriting at UK prices

You don't have to read emails from Nigerian scammers to enjoy copy riddled with errors.

Here's an excerpt from a b2b email received by Drayton and detailed in his Helpful idea 61: never forget why it's called direct response (Oh, and don't be so damned idle.)

As Drayont points out, four mistakes in the first three paragraphs. Can you spot them all?

Emedia produce Email Stationery for Companies, and we are interested in quoting for producing yours?

The Email Stationery Emedia produce does not contain the images as all the image content of your template is embedded preventing any rejection from the recipients server and ensuring high speed travel.

The Email stationery we produce for companies, are the same e-letterheads that the large blue chips companies are now implementing (see examples http://emedia-solutions.co.uk/emailexample.htm ) providing a professional letterhead for your email correspondence to be sent out on while ensuring reliability in transit.

We can also animate your existing logo to give that cutting edge presentation. (See samples http://www.emedia-solutions.co.uk/logo.htm )

You wouldn't dream of sending hard copy correspondence out without using your company's pre printed stationery, you can now send your emails out on your company's stationery 100% reliably and for a negligible cost.

You provide us with your artwork, either in hard copy or an emailable version (We can lift artwork from your website if you like), we send you a proof, once approved, we provide a personal self installing download which will incorporate your letterhead into your emails, giving all your staffs correspondence a professional identity.

If you would like to know more information or to place your order then use the website links below.

If it is someone else within your organisation who would decide on this then please forward them this email.

Email letterheads are compatible with Outlook and Outlook Express, the most widely used email software. You can select to use your E-letterhead or de-select whenever appropriate, once installed your E-letterhead can be used whenever you want.

To find out more about this service use our website link below or give us a call on 01782 444821.

At Emedia we also provide a whole host of other Web related services, bespoke online ordering systems, Online Web traffic control systems, Online Training Systems, Online Contact database Management with automated emailing, if you would like us to explore how we can help your entire online presence then give us a call, and allow us to explore how we can help your business.


Adam Ward-Best

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This is me starting to share some of the shit phishing emails I get. How hard would it be to copy a real bank email? Impossible, judging by the shite that you get in your inbox. At least I know that if the work runs out in London, or if I want to retire somewhere hot, I could always hustle a few dollars, proofing copy from Nigerian scam 'artists' in Lagos.

Let me start what I hope is going to be a series on COPY IN PHISHING EMAILS. Here we go.

First off, even before I've opened the thing, I know it's bogus. How? Because THE SUBJECT LINE IS SHOUTING AT ME. And London designers/art directors beware, copy in CAPS is I how I can spot you're bogus, too.

Dear Abbey Customers Upgrade

Second, they call me Abbey Customers Upgrade. No apostrophe. Distinct lack of sense or knowledge of the English language. Amend to read 'Dear Abbey Customer'. Oh, one more thing, make sure I'm actually with Abbey in the first place.

At this point, I feel I should point out, it may be partly my fault I receive these emails. In the past, I've enquired about the millions I've won. I've entered into some dialogue with these people. My favorite question is 'how will you drain my account if all you have is my account number and sort code?' I still don't know. Do you?

Due to concerns, for the safety and integrity of the Abbey
account we have issued this warning message.

Put a comma after 'account'. Take it out from after 'concerns.' The rest isn't too bad. I've had worse from clients who feel qualified to change my copy.

It has come to our attention that your Abbey account information needs to be
updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account in this year 2008 and to
reduce the instance of fraud on our website. If you could please take 5-10 minutes
out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into
any future problems with the online service.

Hmm, really need to make that first sentence active, not passive. Then there's the 'in this year 2008' bit. What's that all about? Proving they know what year it is? Impressive. They must be for real.

Take 5-10 minutes out of my online experience. Thrown by this bit. It almost sounds really savvy, then you realise no-one would actually say this. Ideally, need a comma after 'records' and repetition of the phrase/word online is just a bit sloppy.

Once you have updated your account records your Abbey account
service will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.

Yeah, ok but the way you've put it makes me think you're not really English.

To update your Abbey records click on the following link:


Thank You.

Accounts Management As outlined in our User Agreement, Abbey will
periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements.

Visit our Privacy Policy and User

Weak, weak ending. OK, so there's a call to action but this phishing email is neither timely, nor relevant. One interesting thing: they've put in a real Abbey web address - a nice touch.

It doesn't really affect what's overall a pretty poor performance.

However, there are worse around (and I hope to post them in the future so check back) - I'm giving this email 5/10. I would have given it another point but they missed a trick by not slipping a steaming turd into the Abbey logo.

Had any phishing emails you'd like me to proofread? Fling them over.

Biz's beat of the day

Some right jiggy interactive stuff

Thanks Dickon, a friend of Iain.

This was so disturbing (perhaps due to flashbacks), I had to click it shut, which was hard due to the effects of the drugs. An incredible demonstration. Really clever.

If you haven't already, I thoroughly recommend you try drugs.

Second up, a massive blue whale of an idea.

Third, why make your site look shit when you can make it look crisp?.

Everyone's good at something

I just watched this YouTube clip without sound. So I can't comment on the commentary. I was eating a sandwich at the time so I wasn't too bothered by the wait. And the payoff seemed a nice reward. Maybe do some knitting while you check this clip or listen to what's being said. It may not be that tittilating but, like I said, you get something out of it right at the end.

Bet you can't cross London without touching the ground

Lewis, a member of Urban Free Flow, gives it a go:

There's more to see at No more landmines: dangerous ground project

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The World's Shortest Story

I rarely capitalise my headings but this one seemed worthy of it.

Legend has it, to settle a bar tab, Ernest Hemingway was challenged he couldn't write a story in under ten words.

'For sale: baby shoes, never used.' is what he came up with. But does this beat it?


Do the test

Here's the official website.

Thanks to another anonymous poster.

Do the test

Whilst you were busy counting how many passes the white team made, did you miss the Visual Cognition Lab?

Chances are, you missed the Visual Cognition Lab, out of the University of Illinois when you were busy counting how many passes the white team made in the latest road safety ad here in London.

But they were there in the background.

If you don't believe me, have a look here and here.

Thanks 'P' who commented on my original post.

There's also a litte bit of blurb here:

View the "basketball" video
This link takes you to the basketball video from an experiment by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris that was described in the article. To view the video, you will need to have Java active in your browser. When viewing the video, try to count the total number of times that the people wearing white pass the basketball. Do not count the passes made by the people wearing black. When you're done, visit the main lab web site for more information. Please note that this video is copyrighted and is available on this web site for viewing purposes only -- it may not be downloaded, copied, saved or used for any other purpose. If you are interested in using this video in any other context, it is available on DVD from VisCog Productions, Inc. Please see the link below. (Note that the University of Illinois is not in any way affiliated with Viscog Productions and this link does not represent an endorsement of Viscog Productions or its products by the University.)

Take this test

Oh, and if you think I'm just posting about this ad because I saw it on Scamp's blog, check my post below, its date and time.

Interesting to see Scamp posting the same ad as me. Again. Although with VW's 'Polo confidence', Scamp was two days behind me. This one was only about 16 hours or so.

Hey Scamp, I'm not saying anthing but...

Actually, get in touch soon. I have an idea for a radio ad for your Levi's campaign. Creative Director on another award?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Did you see the moonwalking bear?

Or were you too busy counting the number of passes the white team made?

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you probably haven't seen the latest road safety ad.

I've had a look on YouTube and I can't find it yet so I can't post it here.

But keep checking back. I'm sure I'll find it soon.

Well worth it.

It makes you want to go back to the beginning of the ad to see if they're telling the truth. But it works even if they're lying, precisely because you can't go back in time to check.

By making you focus on one thing that's happening, then asking you about another you're not concetrating on, this ad seeks to demonstrate the idea that your brain can't see what it's not looking for.

Look out for cyclists when you drive and look out for the ad on this blog and on TV.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The sweetest little ad

I saw this on TV last night for the first time then found it on YouTube.

It's so subtle I actually wasn't sure whether what was happening was happening (plus there was some other noise going on in the room.)

Have a look, you'll see what I mean.

It's a really very funny idea - and really cute. I think it could have been even cuter if the dog's teeth weren't so scary. But how would I know what a cute, small dog actually looks like when it sings? Check it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

How do you sell a Nazi car in a jewish town?

When Bill Bernbach returned to his agency in New York after visiting the factory of his client, VW, in Germany, he passed George Louis in the office.

Louis said 'I haven't worked out the advertising, but I've worked out the marketing - how do we sell a Nazi car in a Jewish town?'

They answered the question with wit, irony and the start of the creative revolution.

My stars are in alignment (or something like that)

Tonight, I'm watching 'Selling the 60s - how Madison Avenue dreamed a decade' on BBC4.

If you're interested at all in advertising, perhaps you are, too.

What's freaky is that I was also taking a personality test to see which world leader I thought like.

No, I'm not a personality test nut - I'm doing some research for a website we're creating.

Anyhow, there I was watching how Hatless Jack, or John F Kennedy, gave ad men kittens because he didn't wear hats (his haircut made him instantly recognisable whilst hats made him look like everyone else.)

At the same time, I was doing this test and discovering I'm like JFK. As well as being a load of bollocks, that's quite spooky, too.

Anyway, it says the test is non-serious. And you can paste your result on your webpage.

Which world leader are you like?

How do you react to this ad?

Does it make you throw up?

Does it make you think?

Does it make you feel ill?

Does it leave you cold?

How does it make you feel?

If you haven't seen it before, you won't know what it's advertising - and that should make it even more powerful for you.

When I first saw it, I knew the brand but that still didn't spoil it for me.

Have a look, see what you think.

Just as I was about to cry, it made me laugh out loud.

Then it made me feel a bit soft for making me think and feel.

Perhaps I'm just a bit too sentimental and schmaltzy for the UK.

If I like this ad, maybe my calling is in the US.