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Medibank and ahm – it’s all about tone

September 25, 2014 | Writing

It’s always exciting to see the final results of a project. After months of hard work, lots of back and forth and immersing myself in the tone, style and audience values of Medibank and ahm, I’m really pleased with the final product of this recent copywriting project.

Looking back, the project is an interesting example of the importance of tone. Content was required for two parallel brochures – 2 x Going to Hospital brochures and 2 x Informed Financial Consent – with one for each company. The content was vastly the same. The tone? Worlds apart.

Medibank has an almost parental warmth about it and an immense enthusiasm for everything ‘better’. ahm, on the other hand, is a no-frills brand aimed at the cash-strapped younger generations. They’re mostly single, childless, and completely uninterested in health insurance.

The key to success with tone, in my humble opinion, is complete immersion. The ability of the copywriter to step into different worlds is an essential part of the craft. I read absolutely everything relevant I can get my hands on, and I even find myself starting to think in whichever tone I’m working with throughout the day. This way, when it comes to actually sitting down and writing, I can be pretty sure that whatever comes out will be, well, right.

Of course, the stakeholders always know their brand best, and there’s often a lot of fine-tuning to get to the absolute last draft (including a trip through the legal department to clean up any legalistic faux pas). The end result, however, is a piece of writing that resonates with the audience and speaks with the voice of the brand. It’s like a kind of ventriloquism of the pen (or keyboard). And it’s really cool when you get it right.

Spot the difference

Just for kicks (it’s a little like a high school assignment), see if you can spot the differences in tone between these two documents (click through for the full docs). I’d love to hear what you think. Just comment below!
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