When landing pages go wrong…

So here’s a little story about this blog. It actually started out as an email, which I decided was too rude to send.

I was on LinkedIn looking at copywriting job descriptions and came across a small company called Foam and Substance who were hiring a copy intern.

I hadn’t heard of them before so I thought I’d have a look at their website. But, what I saw there was truly horrifying…

The horror

After looking at this website, I still had no idea what their company did. I was so horrified by the terrible copy that I felt the need to write them an email with some friendly advice…

To cut a long story short, it didn’t come across as friendly once I’d written it. So, I decided to start a blog for this stuff rather than directly target people who were probably proud of using so many funky words and metaphors.

The first problem was how freaking bright and annoying it is to look at, but I’m willing to ignore that and just focus on the copy.

What’s so bad about it?

Now if you read the copy above and don’t understand what their company actually does, it’s not your fault.

If you looked and didn’t read it at all, again, that’s also not your fault.

The job of the writing is to hold your attention and effectively communicate, but here the copy is so confusing that it simply doesn’t.

And what is it trying to communicate?

The landing page asks its audience to contact them, but I went from being interested in a role at the company to feeling confused. Just by looking at the website.

The headline, I’m guessing, is meant to explain their company name. It makes more sense if you know that they produce soap products, so that’s why “it’s not just foam”.

It’s almost like an inside joke that we’re not a part of.

Let me explain. I realise the company knows what they do, but they’re so familiar with it that they don’t feel the need to tell us.

The copy just doesn’t sound quite right. This becomes apparent as you move on from the headline.

When I found the page, my biggest issue was with the first sentence:

At Foam and Substance we’re world class at grabbing great idea buds and building them into relevant, lovable global labels by turning into the ever-evolving zeitgeist like a radio signal – and letting it tell us where to go.

Literally, wtf.

Seriously, try to read it out loud.

Wtf does it mean? What is an “idea bud”? What do radio signals have to do with it? Where are they going?

If the first sentence makes no sense, the rest of the writing has no hope because no one will keep reading.

How should it be rewritten?

Here a few easy ways that the landing page could be more effective:

  1. The headline needs to be less confusing, and maybe directly state what they do or what problem they are solving.
  2. They need to offer a clear reason to contact them, ie:

Contact us if you want to work with us and transform the beauty industry.

  1. They should just state what Foam and Substance is doing, ie:

We are the parent company of two beauty start-ups:

Soaper Duper, the green bodycare brand, which has made its way into Liberty London

Beauty Pie, a subscription makeup brand, which will revolutionise the way you buy cosmetics

  1. Finally, add a story about the company. People like stories they can relate to. They can’t relate to all that stuff about “sticky new brands giving back”. (How is a brand sticky? Is it tape? Is it glue? Is it a club floor? Pls explain.)


Unlike the Secret Escapes emails, Foam and Substance have tried to be pretty personal. Their tone is definitely friendlier… even if they sound like that one mad friend that’s always using words they don’t understand.

Another thing I wasn’t too clear about was why they want people to contact them.

I assume by saying they want “visionary types who want to run with us”, they’re asking for people who can join their company.

But honestly at this point, after reading so many random metaphors, I don’t know if “run with us” means work with us or literally cardio.

(Although, that’s probably because I was recently talking about the idea of job interviews where you jog with the CEO while answering their questions, and how fucked up that would be.)

Anyway, I’ve gone on for a while now and we’re getting off topic. To conclude:

To Foam and Substance: guys, you need to sort this out.

And to you, thanks for reading. Make sure to tune in to the next post, which I think may actually be a positive one.

If you can’t wait for the next one, either contact me to talk ads, or take a look at my two part series on Secret Escapes:

How Secret Escapes can improve their email adverts

Secret Escapes emails (part two)

Thanks again!



2 thoughts on “When landing pages go wrong…

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