I was reading Inc. magazine over the weekend when I came across this Bonobos ad (click the image to see it full-size in a separate tab):
The ad begins with the following headline:
There are two major problems with this headline.
Problem #1: No evidence is cited to support the claim that “93% of men agree. BONOBOS is better.” Therefore, I call B.S. This is a completely fabricated number to give the illusion of proof.
Problem #2: How exactly are BONOBOS better? Judging from the picture, I assume BONOBOS are jeans — same as any other pair of jeans I might find at any department store anywhere in the U.S. The headline does nothing to disabuse me of my assumptions.
Unfortunately, the headline is not the worst part of the ad. See for yourself…
Bonobos pants look and feel great.
Bonobos makes pants that are designed to look great and fit even better, eliminating the Khaki Diaper Butt that has plagued men for generations. Style and comfort? Yes, you can have both.
Bonobos cares about quality.
From our unique fabrics to our colorful liners, we use the very best in materials and craftsmanship to ensure that our customers are receiving the finest trousers they will ever own.
Bonobos is totally risk-free.
All of our products come with a lifetime guarantee, free shipping both ways, and the best customer service in the world. And our online store makes buying Bonobos not only risk-free, but easy as pie.
Use code INC20 for 20% off your first order.
Only at Bonobos.com
What’s Wrong with This Ad? Plenty…
First of all, let me say that I was totally unaware of “Khaki Diaper Butt.” I was also unaware it had plagued men for generations.
What is this condition? What does it look like? Are men going around wearing adult diapers underneath their slacks?
Assuming I get past this misplaced attempt at humor, I’m told that Bonobos is basically the best company ever with the best pants ever.
Their pants “fit better” and are made with “the very best in materials and craftsmanship.” They are the “finest trousers” I will ever own. But that’s not all! They also have “the best customer service in the world.”
There are a lot of superlatives in this ad. Unfortunately, none of them are supported by any proof whatsoever. No mention of what materials are used, why the pants fit better, or how they are able to provide better customer service than any other company on planet earth.
There’s not even one measly testimonial!
You would think that if 93% of all men agreed that Bonobos are better than all other brands of pants that they’d at least be able to dig up a testimonial.
But alas… I guess 93% of men have also taken a vow of silence when it comes to talking about Bonobos pants.
Oh, and one more thing. The offer itself is decent, but it lacks a deadline and, therefore, lacks urgency. I’m willing to bet the number of men who respond to this ad will be small indeed.
What I Would Have Done
I don’t really know anything about Bonobos other than what they put in their ad. Even so, I think the ad could have been MUCH stronger. Here’s my 10-minute take on how it could’ve been better…
Have Trouble Finding Pants that Fit?
Try Bonobos 100% Risk-Free… If They Don’t Fit, Send ‘em Back!
Bonobos pants are designed to fit better than any pants you’ve ever owned. And we’d like to prove it.
Here’s how it works…
Go to our website at Bonobos.com. Order the pants you want in your size. We’ll ship them in 24 hours or less.
When they arrive, try them on. Wear them around the house. See if they’re not the best-fitting pants you’ve ever owned.
Then, if you like your pants, keep them. If not, send them back to us in the same box at no charge. Just use the prepaid label we include with every order.
Even better, you’ll save 20% when you place your order by March 31, 2012. (Just use code INC20 when you checkout.)
Here’s a question…
Do you really want to spend hours driving to multiple stores, searching for the right size pants in a jumbled retail display, and then trying them on in cluttered and overcrowded dressing rooms?
If you’re like us, the answer is “no!” Finding pants that fit well and look good shouldn’t take so much time and effort.
Let us prove that Bonobos pants really do fit as well as we say they do. You have nothing to lose.
Simply order your pants at Bonobos.com — then try them on in the comfort of your own home. If they don’t fit, send ‘em back using the prepaid return label and you’ll get a prompt and courteous refund. It’s that simple.
But remember: Order by March 31, 2012 so you can save 20% (use code INC20 during checkout).
Now, my ad isn’t earth-shattering or anything. But twenty bucks says the ad I just scratched out would outpull the original ad in a head-to-head split test.
Anybody know the advertising manager at Bonobos? ;-)
-Ryan M. Healy
P.S. Want an in-depth critique of your ad or sales letter? Hire me for a copy critique here.
I launched my freelance copywriting career on June 13, 2005. Much to my surprise, I landed three clients in the first two weeks. If you'd like to discover how I did it, then click here now »