It's been a long time since we've seen a really good long copy print ad -- in general they are hard to get right, and most brands shy away from them particularly in these days of short attention spans and six second video clips.
But Take 5 Oil Change has risen to the copywriting challenge with a 2,380 word print ad that promises to take you 10 minutes to read -- the same amount of time it takes for them to change your oil. The ad is by agency Erich & Kallman, and rises to the challenge of engaging your attention admirably. The writing is playful, quirky and above all entertaining, riffing on such subjects as dinosaurs, moose matriarchs, hot tubs and the state of Maine as well as getting in all of Take 5's locations and a bit of history.
"Writing this took about three straight days and required us to visit the far corners of our mind to find enough content for 2,380 characters," commented Eric Kallman, the founder and chief creative officer at Erich & Kallman, in an email to Ad Age. "In the end, we created a print ad we’re proud of and hope this helps prove that long copy isn’t dead- it just requires lots of coffee."
You can read the full copy the ad below:
In the time it takes to read this ad, you could get your oil changed.
Take 5 is home of the stay in your car, ten-minute oil change. That’s right. With us, it only takes ten minutes to get your oil changed, and you don’t even have to leave your car. So when it came time to write this print ad, we had this crazy idea: what if it took exactly ten minutes to read? A ten-minute ad for a ten-minute oil change? Well, we looked it up, and scientists say that the average person reads 238 words per minute. Then, using the power of math, we figured out that this ad would need exactly 2,380 words to be a ten-minute read. So here we are now–121 words into what will surely be an exciting, ten-minute advertising journey. Time to put on your reading glasses, people!
Now, you might be thinking, “But Take 5 print ad, I can read faster than the average person.” That might be true. And if it is, we’d like to sincerely ask that you do your best to read at what feels like an average pace. We want you (and everyone else who reads this) to get an accurate ten-minute experience. Not a seven-minute-thirty-seven-second experience. That wouldn’t make for a very good tagline, now would it?
But for good measure, we’d like to take this moment to throw in a few confusing sentences to slow you down. A reading speed bump, if you will. Should we call it a read bump? We’re calling it a read bump. Okay here’s one: you have just begun reading the sentence you have just finished reading. That’s a weird sentence, right? Or what about this one? A ship-shipping ship ships shipping-ships. That’s a word knuckleball that actually makes grammatical sense. Look it up! We did, and we’re told it means something about boat delivery. In summation, speed readers, please slow down. Regular readers, please continue at your normal pace. You’ll probably only read this ad once and we want it to take a full oil change to read, and not just three-fourths of one!
Where are you reading this ad right now, by the way? Are you reading while sitting in your car at a Take 5 Oil Change? If that’s the case, thank you. You’ve probably already answered our friendly technician’s questions about which kind of oil you’d like, and now you’ve turned your attention back to the remaining eight minutes of advertising that lies ahead. We know you could be doing something fun on your phone–like checking social media or calling your grandma. Or you could even be reading the newspaper that this ad was printed on (there are probably tons of interesting articles and pictures in here), but you’ve made the decision to read this ad instead. And that’s seriously so nice of you.
If you’re reading this ad and you’re not getting our famous ten-minute oil change, then maybe you’re killing time in a doctor’s office waiting room. Or maybe you’re at the dentist’s office. Or maybe you found this newspaper on the train. Did you find this newspaper on the train? If so, would you mind if we ask why you picked it up? Random publications you find on the train could have any number of germs on them. Kind of gross, no? You should probably put this ad down. Seriously. Did you put it down? Great job! But not if you’re still reading this part.
Are you reading this ad in a hot tub? That’s an exciting place to be! All those bubbles and whatnot. We at Take 5 hope you are enjoying the bubbles and also have a spoonful of luxurious, Scandinavian caviar in one of your hands (with your pinky out). And we also hope your hot tub is somewhere with a beautiful winter view. We hope there’s a moose family trotting along playfully in the distance. And we hope that the matriarch of the moose family is looking in your direction as though they knew you in a past life and that the moment is stunning and magical and you’ll never forget it. We hope all of that is happening while you’re reading this Take 5 Oil Change print ad. We know it’s very unlikely, but it’s not impossible.
And so, to everyone reading this ad (in all the situations listed above as well as additional situations we haven’t listed, and obviously excluding the train situation because we politely asked you to stop), we hope that this advertising experience helps reinforce that Take 5 Oil Change is fast and friendly, and this ten minutes truly goes by faster than you think.
On the subject of time, did you know that Take 5 has been around for almost forty years? That’s right! We started in 1984! That means if Take 5 were a person, today they’d be 39 years old. That’s a full-on adult. They’d have responsibilities like a 401K, and a lawn, and two kids. And guess what? Take 5’s kids would be smart. They’d be on the honor roll, and involved in extracurricular activities (chess club, debate team, etc.), and Take 5 the person would be so proud that they’d have a “Proud Parent” bumper sticker on their car. How sweet is that? But the problem with this hypothetical scenario? If Take 5 were a person, it wouldn’t be an oil change place. And everyone in America would be super bummed that they didn’t have a fast, friendly, and convenient way to change their oil. What a sad world that would be. Thankfully, Take 5 isn’t a 39-year-old person. We’re an oil change place. And we can all agree that’s a better thing for us to be.
And Take 5 Oil Change is just about everywhere! We have tons of locations across the United States! We’re in: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, November, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and even Wisconsin!
Did you catch that? November? There’s obviously no state called November. You know that. We know that. We were just trying to make sure you were paying attention and not skipping past the section with all the state names. Those are an important part of the timing of this ten-minute print ad, and simply glossing over those names willy-nilly would 100% guarantee this ad doesn't last the full ten minutes. And while we can all agree that November is not a state, we at Take 5 love the month of November, and in general, find the fall season to be a comfy, cozy time of year.
Assuming you’ve gone back and reread the states above (and apologized for missing November earlier—it’s okay, we forgive you) we realize that by now you’re probably concerned that we did not list the state of Maine. No, we’re not in Maine yet. And we are concerned about that, too. We’ve heard time and time again that Maine is a lovely place with delicious seafood and a burgeoning craft beer scene. Who wouldn’t want to have a location in Maine? It’s Maine for crying out loud! We at Take 5 want you to know that at some point, our fast, friendly, convenient oil change establishment will probably be in Maine. And maybe Vermont, too.
But enough about our locations. This moment right now is about you. You’re about halfway done with this ad! We’d like to congratulate you for getting to this monumental halfway point. High five! You’ve done a really great job and you should be proud of your accomplishment. Go ahead and do a little dance. Envision a celebratory cake. Imagine little streamers falling from the sky and getting stuck to your forehead. This is your chance to celebrate! But whatever you do, don’t stop reading. That would completely throw off the pacing of this ten-minute print ad, and neither of us want that.
At this time, we’d like to direct your advertising attention to dinosaurs. Some people were taught that oil came from dinosaurs, but it’s actually more likely from ancient bacteria, marine organisms, or algae. That’s not as cool as dinosaurs, but at Take 5, we believe in being transparent with our customers (again, this is an ad!) and we wanted to set the record straight. Sorry to drop that kind of disappointing fact on you right after celebrating the halfway point. But this might cheer you up: did you know the largest dinosaur ever to live was called the Argentinosaurus? They found its bones in Argentina, so that’s how it got it’s name. Go figure! And honestly, good on the archaeologist for not naming it after themself. We at Take 5 would have 100% named any dinosaur we discovered the Takefiveosaurus without even batting an eye. We’re a business, after all.
Now that we’ve gotten the whole “oil didn’t come from dinosaurs” conversation out of the way, we’d like to acknowledge that up to this point, this ad has mostly been about how fast we are. Ten minutes fast, don’t forget it! But we’re not just fast. We’re also friendly. Not like weirdly friendly, but the exact amount of friendly you’d want from a person working on your car. We’re friendly like that wave you do when you’re crossing the street and a car stops for you. You don’t have to do that wave thing, but you’re going to do it anyway. And then, being equally friendly, the person who stopped for you does that upward nod people do, and you leave the interaction feeling like there’s a mutual understanding that you and the person who stopped are generally nice, good-mannered people. We’re that amount of friendly. And you seem like you’re that amount of friendly, too. You’ve read about seven minutes of a newspaper advertisement haven’t you? Thanks again
Also, at Take 5 Oil Change you stay in your car during the entire experience. We’d be remiss to skip that all-important point before our ten-minute print ad is complete. You don’t have to exit your car once! We’re like a fast food cheeseburger restaurant, but instead of serving up delicious cheeseburgers, we just change your oil. Would it be a good idea to also serve cheeseburgers at Take 5 Oil Change? Yes. We’ve thought about it. We’d call it Take 5 Oil and Burgers. But our lawyers (and the health department) have seriously advised against the idea. Also, unsurprisingly, the Venn diagram of knowledgeable oil-changers and fry cooks is very, very small, and we’d likely have a hard time finding enough people to employ. So for now, we’ll focus on oil changes, but you can absolutely go to a fast food cheeseburger place before you come to Take 5 and eat your burger in the car. It could be a whole never-leave-your-car kind of day! We won’t be annoyed (although we’ll probably be jealous, just being honest) because, again, we’re super friendly over here and where you decide to eat your lunch is totally your business. That said, if you’re currently eating your lunch and reading this ad inside a Take 5, we’d recommend you start wrapping things up. You’ve only got about two minutes left in this ad and we’re not going to kick you out or anything, but we’d imagine you’d like to get going as soon as your oil change is done. It’s not personal, we know that.
And when should you come back to Take 5, you ask? We recommend every 3,000 miles. That’s not to say you can’t stop by and say hi, but 3,000 miles is just how often you should change your oil. And you probably have better things to do than stop by an oil change place any more than you absolutely need to. Maybe you’re writing a book. Maybe you own a bakery. Maybe you’re the only hostage negotiator in your entire city. You don’t have the ability to just stop by an oil change place for no reason. Who would, really? That’s why our friendly technicians will put a little sticker on your car so you remember when you should come back. Pretty neat. But we’d also recommend you put a reminder in your phone. We’re not sure what kind of phone you have, but if you have the kind of phone that lets you add reminders, you totally should. In addition, we at Take 5 also hope that you have a cool phone background, such as mountains or cats, and if you don’t have that kind of background, we’d recommend you make that adjustment, too.
But alas, if you’re reading this ad in a Take 5 right about now, the technician is giving you their clipboard and you’re signing the receipt (please give the pen back, we lose those all the time). And that also means our time together is almost over. Can you believe that? It’s bittersweet, really. We at Take 5 would appreciate if you could put some sort of nostalgic song on your car’s radio to really set the tone for our final moments together. And turn it up a little. But not too much. Someone else might be reading in their car too.
And now, we’d really just like to say, thank you for coming along for this journey. Now together, let’s reflect on a few of the emotional moments that we’ve shared in the last ten minutes: there was that time we learned about the state of Maine. Remember that? With the seafood? And then of course there was that whole dinosaur thing. Again, we’re so sorry we had to break the news that way. And who could forget that time we celebrated at the halfway mark of this ad? We’re so proud of you for that. You did a great job.
Seriously though, it was wonderful to have you with us during this entire ten-minute advertising process. We couldn’t have done this without you. And we really mean that from the bottom of our oil change franchise heart.
And now, it looks as though we’re about to reach 2,380 words. Can you believe it? We did it, y’all. We just need one more word. Taco.