Copy Love #6: Billie
No such thing as bad publicity 🗞️
Hey there copy lover,
How are you? Holding on in there? With the longer days and brighter weather I can feel a sense of optimism in the air—could this be the light at the end of the tunnel? Are we nearly there yet?
I do hope so.
Speaking of optimism, how are you feeling about your rates? If you need a boost, remember the new government briefing room cost a whacking £2.6m 🤡. Quote with confidence my friends, you’re worth it.
And after that awkward transition, on to the headline act.
What is Billie?
Billie started as a female razor brand and have since branched out to “daily essential” personal care products.
The Love List
I’m breaking format this week (my newsletter, my rules 🙃) to focus on one specific aspect of Billie’s copy—their award-winning, arse-kicking, trailblazing campaigns.
The art of courting controversy
Billie hit headlines back in 2019 with their Project Body Hair campaign. The celebration of female body hair lit a touchpaper and put Billie firmly on the map as the new female razor brand in town.
The copy is simple and striking, leaving room for the imagery (the main event) to do the talking. It’s challenging with a tongue in cheek twist that is perfectly pitched.
“The world pretends it doesn't exist. But it does, we checked” is *chefs kiss*.
The campaign was widely acclaimed, albeit with a few ruffled feathers and criticisms of “hijacking feminism” (let’s save that debate for another day).
As a woman who sometimes chooses to remove my body hair, I’d rather buy from a brand that acknowledges the reality of my physiology. I know plenty of others who feel the same, proving Billie has their finger right on the pulse.
For International Women’s Day 2021 Billie launched Think of a Woman, to honour womankind in all its many and varied forms.
In a similar vein to Project Body Hair, it’s designed to resonate strongly with Billie’s core demographic while getting under the skin of their core critics. It hits the sweet spot of being bold but not abrasive, challenging but not combative.
I LOVE the minimalism of the Billie Brain Scan (scroll to the bottom of the Think of a Woman page). With a few well-chosen words it exposes unconscious bias and hammers home the point with a knockout punch. It’s some of the most powerful copy I’ve seen in a while and really stuck with me.
I haven’t put screenshots here because they don’t do it justice—try the brain scan for yourself to get the full effect.
Like Billie’s earlier campaigns, Think of a Woman generated a healthy dose of attention. Say what you want about “brand purpose” (do consumers really care?) taking a strong stance has propelled Billie into the limelight.
While the rewards can be huge this approach is not without risk, which is why so many retreat to the safety of creative mediocrity.
See Gillette Venus for comparison—there’s nothing on their website that Dove didn’t do more than a decade ago. Yes, it ticks the requisite “female empowerment” box, but since when has good advertising been about ticking boxes? 😴
Room for improvement?
Far be it for me to find fault with award-winning campaigns when I have zero to my name, I understand some people are weary of brands “courting controversy” for column inches (did someone say vagina candles?). Personally, I applaud the creativity and risk.
The final verdict
Finely balanced, perfectly pitched campaigns that stick in your head and challenge without insulting. File under: “no such thing as bad publicity”.
Up next Friday: Hoxton Street Monster Supplies 🧟