The older I get the more I believe in the old adage “keep it simple”. Not just in copywriting but with any idea or solution to fix a problem. Here’s a good example of why, spotted outside Topshop in Leeds city centre while it temporarily relocated during its refurbishment:

Sign in the window of a closed Topshop with details of its new address

Topshop

I watched for a while as bemused shoppers walked warily towards the sign, read it and then tried to work out where “40-49 The Headrow” is in Leeds. Most people who live in Leeds know where the Headrow is – it’s a long shopping street that intersects the city. But who knows where number 40-49 is? I don’t and I’ve lived in Leeds for over twelve years now.

If I was their copywriter I’d have written something like “Where Burton used to be” or perhaps “Right of this sign, go straight up the hill”. Maybe we’d include a map or a photo instead of those superfluous plugs for their online store and social networks. Or how about no copy at all, just a human being stood outside with sweeties ready to show people the way.

As a result, I, like most of the other shoppers, just turned around and walked directly into H&M opposite to spend my money instead.