Tasty copy

Written by Quietroom
Croissant image for Quietroom blog

I once got a promotional email from a well-known chain of pizza restaurants. It offered me ‘just three courses for £12.99’. I was distressed. Distraught. I told anyone who’d listen. Some people didn’t get it. Most of them didn’t care.

When you’re a writer, you spend an awful lot of time lamenting the words around you. Adverts on the tube, headlines, hummus packets, flyers, your friends’ facebook posts, railway announcements, radio scripts.

Nothing is safe.

With so much bad communication out there, it’s rare that I stop and appreciate the good stuff. But it does exist. So today, I’m extolling the virtues of a really good piece of corporate copy. And I’ll be telling you why I think it’s super.

So take a bow Pret a Manger. Every time I go into one of their stores, I find a piece of communication that thrills my copywriter’s senses (I know, tragic). Take a look at this:


My name is Safia. I’m the Manager at this Pret Shop.

My team and I meet every morning. We discuss the comments you’ve made, the good, the bad and the ugly. If we can deal with it ourselves, we will. If we can’t, I’ll forward this card to Clive, our CEO back at the office. I know he’ll do what he can.

If you have a minute, please do ask to speak to me or one of my team right now.

This piece of copy is delicious. Here’s why.

It’s concise and well structured –

The structure’s great – it takes the reader right through Pret’s complaint process. It tells us who the store manager is, when she meets with her team, what they talk about at those meetings, and what happens after they’ve met. And, it’s concise. No word is wasted. No sentence is superfluous.

It puts people in –

The writing is full of people. For instance, Safia introduces herself by name. She talks about her team. She uses pronouns and strong verbs all the way through, things like ‘we can’, ‘we will’ and ‘we discuss’. Even Clive, the CEO is introduced by name. He’s presented as a living, breathing man! It’s so much better than ‘your complaint has been forwarded to the relevant department’ isn’t it?

All these things make the writing vivid – it’s dynamic, and full of action. I know exactly who’s doing what and when. And as a customer, that leaves me confident that anything I say will be dealt with swiftly and transparently.

It sounds human

This piece of writing uses accessible, everyday language – things like ‘deal with it’, ‘if you have a minute’ and ‘the good the bad and the ugly’. Most businesses use cold, process language – things like ‘rectify the situation’ or ‘please contact us at your earliest convenience.’ Using everyday language makes Pret’s writing sound like a human being, not a business. When people sound human we trust them. And when we trust them, we really believe they can sort out our problems for us.

So well done Pret. If only there were more places that gave their copy as much attention as their croissants. A writer can dream….