Copywriting Case Study: Brakes

Who are we talking about?

Brakes is a food wholesaler which aims to be the food partner for many businesses such as pubs, clubs and hotels, and the favoured supplier for chefs.


What are they selling?

Their products range from raw materials to ‘ready for the oven’ meals, like toad in the hole. Their products are not individual items, as you would find in your local supermarket, but instead offers its customers small quantities of products – just the right amount to keep your café stocked.


What do they want their customers to do?

Judging by their website, Brakes encourages their customers to sign-up for online ordering. I imagine that once registered, the experience of making a purchase will be similar to that of ordering from Ocado, or Tesco Food Shop.


What is the copy like?

Much of the copy on the site is literal, with only subtle hints of writing flair. It seems obvious that their customers are not looking for benefits and features, but want to know quickly what a product is. For example, ‘Milk chocolate brownie made with a dash of espresso (individually wrapped)’. Other products are simply announced by their title (like ‘Corona Extra’, Promotional Price: £21.99, £0.92 bottle), counting on the brand name and the price to win the sale.

To suit the audience, copy such as ‘Bite into these Honeybun Amondi biscuits for a satisfying crunch. Individually wrapped, they’re a sweet, nutty treat for your lunchbox’ would not be appropriate, as this text is appealing to the end consumer, rather than the customer, who will be wanting good food in large quantities for the right price.


Is all the copy that short?

After hunting through their website, I did find some longer copy. In this case, the longer text is likely due to the competition between products in this category, and the need to explain to buyers why this product is more expensive than the competition. Where there is quality, a quantity of words often follows.

‘Sundried tomato and basil flavour pork meatballs in a smokey Spanish style sauce with oregano, basil and smoked paprika, ideal for tapas. Serve hot or cold in flatbreads. Quick and easy to use, reheat 100g in microwave for 45 seconds. Once opened has 72 hours shelf life.’


What would you do?

It’s clear that brevity is key to Brake’s webcopy. So that presents more of a challenge to a copywriter. I’ve had a go at creating some copy that might just work for Brake’s website.

Brakes Multi-Use Tomato Sauce

DaVinci Summer Fruits Smoothie

Brakes Select Port, Cranberry & Orange Stuffing Log

pasta fruits stuffing

My suggested copy

A versatile chunky sauce, great for pastas, pizza, and paninis. This sauce contains all the ingredients of a classic Italian staple; onions, seasoning and herbs. A litre of cool berry smoothie with no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. A tangy alternative for your Sunday Roast, this stuffing log contains 16 portions.
Despite highlighting the versatility of this product in its title, the copy was originally ‘Chunky tomato sauce with onion, seasoning & herbs’. Let’s spice it up. I’ve had a bit of fun with alliteration, and kept in the details about ingredients, but this copy is definitely ‘selling’ harder. I’ve kept this description simple, but as I can’t think of any smoothies which are served warm, I’ve highlighted the ‘coolness’ of this drink. This is an assumption, but one that I hope will evoke the sensation of cold fruity drinks for the reader. Second person pronouns (you and your) are often used in advertisement. This is not a feature which Brakes seem to use, but could be employed to help chefs consider adding this item to their Sunday menu.



Is there any other copy on their website?

Aside from their ‘About Us’ page, which really sells its service to customers, Brakes have also attempted to provide some inspiration for their audience. They’ve created an extra series of categories for their products, and taglines for them.

The ‘breakfast’ category hosts a range of Brakes products. ‘Eggs’, for example, has the tagline ‘How do you like yours?’, but ‘Continental’ breakfast foods use the tagline ‘sweet & savoury’. As a UK citizen, for me, European and foreign breakfast foods are often meat or cheese based. So, I’d prefer to read something like ‘Try something different’, or ‘Taste like you’re on holiday’. But that’s just me.


So that’s how you do it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little window into my process, and I will be doing some more case studies in future, to practise writing product copy, dissect webcopy, and how it works.




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