Good Content, Bad Content Vol. 2

For the second installment of Good Content, Bad Content, I'll be tweaking the format a bit. Instead of contrasting two Fortune 500 companies from different industries, I think it works better to stack one big company against a smaller counterpart within the same industry. I'll also be photoshopping my own content suggestions right into the place of the bad stuff when possible, as close to its original look as I can make it. And despite the title, I think I'll start with the "Bad" candidate, because that's more fun. So without further ado, this week's victim...

Bad Content: Frito-Lay

Though it's a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Frito-Lay is a behemoth on its own, with Forbes slating its brand as the 40th most valuable in the world. But at their online home, the chip-meisters get things off on the wrong foot right from the get-go with the following wonky wording in the hero section of the home page...

Frito-hero

It's basically inexcusable for a brand this big to mess up content this high on its home page. And one bad sentence (and that is a bad sentence) is not even the biggest problem. Look at their slogan: "Good fun!" There's references to two fun things here, summer barbecues and family gatherings (which I guess can be fun, depending on your family). But "relaxing at the end of a long day"? "Memorable moments"? "Maybe brighten mundane" days? That's some weak sauce.

Frito clearly wants to give the website an earthy, friendly vibe; nothing wrong with that. But even if nowhere else, the slogan's got to be represented better than that in the first content visitors see. Their slogan is about fun, so let's see if we can spice this up...

Frito-improved-header

I hate exclamation points, but it goes with the slogan, and since we're trying to invoke the idea of arriving at a party, this is how a host would say it. I'm not married to the last sentence but I think it's a good driver, which they obviously want, even though "We invite you to learn more" puts me to sleep. We've still got the "family" angle, but no more of this "relaxing" and "mundane" stuff. Fritos are fun! Content like you mean it!

Moving on, we find a lazy cliche on the Careers page...

Frito-careers

As Harvard Business Review and others have pointed out, no, your company is not a family. It's just something people say because it sounds good, even though five seconds of reflection prove it to be nonsense. It's the content creator's (entire) job to come up with content that rings true and feels somewhat fresh and original. This phrase does neither. Here's a good one though...

Frito-taste-buds

There you go, guys. "More than meets the taste buds." That's saying it in a way I haven't heard a bajillion times. It's fresh. But you know what's not fresh? Plagiarizing yourself...

Frito-home-environment
Frito-environment

Two different pages, two identical sentences. I would never in a million years give a client word-for-word copy like that, mainly because I'm being paid to write, not copy+paste. For what it's worth, I hear it's hard to get fired from Frito-Lay, so there ya go...

    Good Content: Hippeas

    Krusty the Clown of The Simpsons fame once complained, "Hey jerk, puns are lazy writing!" But when your brand name is itself a play on words, you've pretty much determined the path for your content: it better be laid-back. And credit to the hippies at Hippeas, they embrace their task with gusto.

    Hippeas-home

    Bam! With four little words, they a) make a pun (that also reinforces their brand), b) address the fact that most snackers are not chowing down on chickpeas on the regular, and c) make a call to action to give said legumes a try. Now that's doing more with less. 

    Scrolling down...

    Hippeas-peaple

    They're packing brand reinforcement into the content at every turn, while highlighting product benefits for consumers and the world at large. "Modern hippies," indeed.   

    Hippeas flavors

    Despite its slogan of "good fun," I can't imagine Frito-Lay having the guts to include a potentially controversial phrase like "down with the man" on its website, even though it's clearly in jest. But Hippeas is committed to the bit, and because of that, the little startup's site is way more "fun" than Frito-Lay's, and more importantly, the content is way stickier. 

    What we learned:

    1. Your slogan should inform your content. If it doesn't, you either need new content or a new slogan.
    2. Don't settle for lazy content like cliches or reused wording.