Stand-up Comedy & Knock-Knock Jokes: 6 Tips for Better Product Copywriting

When it comes to copywriting, being funny and relatable can go a long way. Our copywriter breaks down 6 tips for better copy with examples from Taziki’s online menu: “It’s a good idea for companies to create copy with a personality. It makes them more relatable to customers, and it makes their products more memorable — if I can get you to laugh at a chicken salad joke, you’re more likely to remember the chicken salad. The key to making this strategy work, though, is to be sure the product information is clear; it doesn’t matter if your customers get the joke if they forget what the product is.”

When I tell people I’m a copywriter, I usually get blank looks. That makes sense, because a copywriter can be a lot of different things — for me, it means writing website content and blogs for clients (that’s mostly what I do with Infomedia), but it can also mean writing for ads and menus and catalogs. (You know when you see a new nail polish color and think, “Who names these things?!” Well, you can thank a copywriter for that punny name for the color red.)

I don’t usually get a chance to do product or menu copywriting in my work for Infomedia, but it’s a treat when I do, and Taziki’s was a particularly fantastic client to work with because they wanted creative copy. “Think J. Peterman from Seinfeld” was their direction, and that gave me permission to have fun with the work.

It’s a good idea for companies to create copy with a personality. It makes them more relatable to customers, and it makes their products more memorable — if I can get you to laugh at a chicken salad joke, you’re more likely to remember the chicken salad. The key to making this strategy work, though, is to be sure the product information is clear; it doesn’t matter if your customers get the joke if they forget what the product is.

Taziki’s has a big menu, so I pulled out all the copywriting tricks at some point. Here are a few of my go-to product copywriting strategies with examples from Taziki’s menu to back them up.

Be Funny

A sense of humor can go a long way in making copy relatable, and puns and jokes add life to your copy. (They can also go over-the-top pretty easily, so use caution.)

Chicken Salad and Company: Why did the Chicken Salad cross the road? To get with the other sides! Match up our All Natural Chicken Salad with any two — Pimento Cheese, Pasta Salad, Tomato and Cucumber Salad, or Fresh Fruit — whichever combo suits your mood and taste. It’s the best salad trio in town, and it’s great for a quick lunch, a park picnic, or a potluck supper. So delicious, it’s perfect for any occasion — and that’s no joke!

The Turkey and the Egg: Sounds like a riddle, tastes like a great lunch. Take the turkey sandwich up a notch with a fried egg on toasted buttermilk bread with swiss cheese, crisp lettuce and creamy mayo. Sounding good? Add a bit of bacon for 50 cents — ooo, now you’re really cooking! So, what came first, the turkey or the egg? It’s one of life’s great mysteries, but what we know for sure is it’s oh-so-tasty and sure to be your new favorite lunch.

Embrace the Awkwardness

Sometimes a product looks funny or sounds weird — you can use that confusion to help the customer relate to the product and create a stronger connection (while answering some of their product questions). Dolmades (grape leaf rolls) can look strange if you’re not familiar with them, and there’s lots of debate over the pronunciation of “gyro,” so we played around with that in the copy.

Grilled Chicken Gyro: Yee-ro. Gee-ro. Hero. No matter how you say it, your tastebuds will be singing! Grilled chicken gives you a protein boost that lasts all day, and we add Taziki sauce, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomato, then wrap it all in thick, fluffy pita bread for a flavor that can’t be beat. Add your choice of side, and lunch is a wrap. There’s only one thing left to say: “Mmm-mmm, good!”

Dolmades: There’s a reason dolmades are traditional Greek feast food — these babies are like a little bit of culinary magic, all rolled up in a bite-sized package. We take seasoned rice, grilled onions and our own special blend of herbs and hand-roll it all into warm grape leaves. And for the uninitiated who’ve never eaten leaves from the grapevine? “Looks weird — tastes great” is the common refrain.

Put a Twist on Trite Expressions

Being creative with expressions your customers are already familiar with can make them feel like they’re part of an inside joke and help them connect more with copy and, ultimately, with your product. Here I play around with the expressions “you say potato, I say potah-to,” “there’s a new sheriff in town,” and the quintessentially Southern “y’all.”

Roasted New Potatoes: You say potato, we say delicious! We take the best new potatoes, chop them up and season them with oregano, then roast them to perfection. Move over, French Fries! There’s a new potato in town, and it’s healthier, tastier, and — Dare we say it? — much more delicious than any tired old plate of fries.

Spicy Pimento Cheese: It’s Greek food meets the Deep South: Dip your pita chip into a Southern favorite served with Taziki’s special twist. We mix sharp grated cheddar with diced red peppers and a little mayo, add Tabasco, and serve it with our signature pita, either crispy or soft. Enjoy it with a Coke or a tall glass of water, or go full-on Southern with a sweet tea. Opa, y’all!

Talk to Your Customers

Okay, this seems pretty basic — but really think through where your customers are when they’ll be reading your copy and what they might be feeling. Taziki’s customers browse the menu at lunchtime during busy workdays or when they’re looking for after-work options for family, so I tried to find solutions for stressors they’d be facing at those times (like busy Mondays and picky kids).

Monday: Portobello Mushroom Sandwich: It’s about time Mondays had a bright spot: Show the first day of the week who’s boss with a trip to Taziki’s for the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich. Let the to-do list fade away as you enjoy the perfect marriage of grilled chicken, red peppers and swiss cheese on a thick kaiser bun topped off with just the right amount of our housemade mushroom butter. When Monday starts with a sandwich like this one, you can just tell — it’s gonna be a good week.

Sneaky Taziki: Sometimes little people have BIG opinions! Wee ones who get a bit picky will love getting Sneaky. We start with a chicken roll-up and let you add whatever you like — cheese, rice, Taziki sauce — you name it! Stick with a favorite version, or pick and choose a crazy combination each time you come in. And when it comes to a side? You have choices there, too: fresh fruit or potato chips.

Use Personal Experience

Anything that’s interesting in your life is fodder for writing, and that applies whether you’re working on a novel or on menu descriptions. I’m a former vegetarian who made due with sides and salads for over a decade, and I’m also single, and that means I’m bombarded with romantic advice and advertisements about online dating. I used both experiences in my copy.

Tomato-Basil: Tomato and basil make such a good couple. She’s tart; he’s savory. She’s cheeky, and he’s deep. These soulmates pair up with tangy feta cheese and basil-pesto on wheat bread in a griddled sandwich that’s a flavor-match made in heaven. Looking for love with a new favorite sandwich? We think you’ve finally found the one.

Dolmades Plate: Had it up to here with veggie options that leave you unsatisfied? We hear you! If meat’s not on your personal menu, you’ll find a filling and delicious new favorite in our Dolmades Plate. Enjoy our hand-rolled and grilled grape leaves, stuffed with seasoned rice and served with a side of Taziki sauce for dipping. We add a side of pita and a Greek salad — because you’re skipping the meat, not the favor. Stay strong, vegetarians! We’ve got you covered.

Don’t Be Repetitive

If you’re bored with the copy, your customers will be bored reading, it too. There’s a lot of chicken on Taziki’s menu, so it was important to make each dish stand out.

Grilled Chicken Basil-Pesto Gyro: Think you know chicken? Think again. This warm, flavorful gyro boasts pesto, roasted red peppers and feta all tucked into our warm, fluffy pita bread. We round out the flavor explosion with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, lettuce and our Greek dressing for a lunchtime surprise that’s oh-so-tasty, every single time. Goodbye, boring lunches — hello fresh new flavor combinations from Taziki’s!

Grilled Chicken: Sometimes a nugget’s just not going to cut it. When you’re looking for a fast meal that’s filling, healthy and tasty, too, look no further than our Grilled Chicken sandwich. We start with a thick Kaiser bun, grill the chicken to perfection, and polish it off with feta cheese and grilled onions. Oh yeah! That’s what we call chicken done right.

All Natural Chicken Salad: Tastes like chicken? No, tastes like heaven! Chicken salad is best when it’s homemade with all-natural, fresh ingredients — and you can trust that every serving of Taziki’s chicken salad lives up to even the loftiest of standards. Our classic sandwich is served with lettuce and tomato on toasted wheat bread and served with your favorite side for a taste that’s out-of-this-world delicious.

It’s easy to write product copy that’s boring and straight-to-the-point, and sometimes that’s appropriate for the product. But if you can be lighter and more personable in your copy, I’d recommend taking the chance because getting a customer to smile at your menu or feel a small emotional connection to your product puts you that much closer to building a deeper connection and inspiring the customer loyalty that we’re all looking for. Taziki’s willingness to be innovative and take chances is a huge part of their business (we wrote about Taziki’s trailblazing just last week on the blog), so adding spirit and life to their copy made perfect sense — and it was really fun to write, too.

woman laughs while looking off camera for Infomedia

Carrie has been copyediting and writing for fifteen years. Her skills were forged in the newsroom at The Birmingham Post-Herald and she’s a huge book nerd (she moonlights as Southern Living’s book reviewer), but a love of paper and ink hasn’t stopped her from mastering the digital world as well: She’s had a blog pretty much since they existed, and she’s run social media for companies big and small. Carrie’s always ready to take on a new communication challenge, lecture us about the proper use of semicolons, or defend the fact that her Instagram account is filled with selfies.


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