Copywriting lessons from Breaking Bad billboards
Like any devoted Breaking Bad fan, I’m awaiting August 11th (the beginning of the second half of the show’s final season, may it rest in peace!) with eager anticipation and general panic about not knowing what my life will be like once it’s over.
You can probably imagine, then, the combination of premature nostalgia and giddiness that I experienced when I stumbled upon this sweet little ad the Breaking Bad team has plastered over a ton of billboards in Albuquerque, thanking the southwestern city it’s called home for the past five or so years. Beyond my appreciation of these billboards as a fan of the show, the copywriter in me has found a thing or two to like about it as well. Allow me to summarize.
Watch any interview with the show’s creator or cast and you’ll quickly realize the deep respect they have for Albuquerque, which has become as much a crucial character as it is a setting. Regardless of how something is executed, a strong message has to be there in the first place, and this one happens to be particularly genuine and heartfelt.
At Big Duck, we try to develop things that are unique to our clients, whether it’s a tagline that says something only they can say or a truly ownable logo. These ads are a good illustration of what that means. Sure, any show can claim to have great “chemistry” with the city where it’s filmed, but for Breaking Bad, a show that’s all about the dark side of chemistry, the phrase takes on a whole new meaning.
I’m a big fan of wordplay, but it doesn’t always work in every context. Here, though, it feels successful. The play on words, with the double meaning of chemistry, sets the tone for the ad, something along the lines of sincere-yet-playful. (The second exclamation point, however, I think they can stand to lose. Maybe even the first.)
Here’s to hoping Jesse Pinkman makes it out alive!