PUNNY BUSINESS – imi ft. Caroline

Here is some further analysis of the lyrics and indeed a breakdown of Caroline’s marvellous mind-boggling Headlines #2 workshop all about puns. 

My rather amateurly-produced ‘song’ (can we call it that, or is it just noise?) was inspired by Caroline’s second instalment of her Headlines workshops. I am grateful to be writing about a workshop which resonates with me so much; I am a serial self-confessed pun-ner.

Some background for my ‘song’… As Caroline rightly flagged at the beginning of the workshop, ‘bad copywriters get obsessed with wordplay.’ I tentatively raise my hand.

By settling for puns, creatives are prone to:

–         Cliches

–         Repetition

–         Downright carelessness

However, within the vast array of punny ads we explored, there were some gems. If used with caution, puns can evoke that ‘aha that’s clever’ moment. Taking stock of the many puns we had the pleasure of cringing or gazing admiringly at, it became clear that puns can ascend copy, they can become visual. As an aspiring art director, it’s only right to give an honourable mention to the incredible evolution of Araldite’s campaign, which explored pun-ography:

Truthfully, I felt that Caroline’s workshop covered an awful lot of punnage, with a whole lot of crossover. I hoped my questionable one hit wonder might reflect the bamboozlement of getting punny. Without further ado…

Let’s Get Punny (Imi ft. Caroline)


Making the viewer expect an entirely different copy at the tail-end.

Double meaning

The simple OG of punnage. Taking a word and connoting different things.

Substitute a similar word

Again, rather old school punnage.

Repetition, contrasting pairs

This category is almost the sister of substituting a similar word, but making that substitution very obvious by maintaining a word or phrase. Potentially more of a spoon-feed situation.

Anagrams you’ve already heard

Yup, taking what you know and distorting the order of the letters. A clever little category if done right and coherently.

’66 Was a Great Year for English Football. Eric Cantona Was Born | Schoerner, Norbert | Montgomery, Giles | McKay, Andy | V&A Explore The Collections (

Eric was born,

MISDIRECTION: A strong ad, taking an iconic year for England football… and… well… placing Eric on the end. Unexpected, comical, and Eric appears to be quite the hero.

One pun out of five

Yes, this could qualify as a really rubbish pun. ‘One star out of five.’ But really, this is one of the stronger instances of punnage. Would maybe give it 4 out of 5 stars. It’s simple, bold, unexpected, adding a twist on shared memory.

War of words on High Street over Dixons’ advertising | London Evening Standard | Evening Standard

Double meaning Dixons,

Fixed on the end here,

DOUBLE MEANING: This lyric speaks for itself. Dixons has taken a rather posh bit of text and stuck itself on the end. Dixons adopts a dual personality of being both luxurious and convenient.

Two puns out of five

Sash Window Repairs Kent | Window Restoration in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Bromley (

What do Bonny Tiler and Lino Richie have in common? – Scottish Local Retailer (

Sashy sashy, Lino Richie,

Need I say more?

SUBSTITUTE A SIMILAR WORD: I am actually going to say more here. Oh, the irony. These are awful, aren’t they? Clearly a declaration of whomever produced these that they just really miss the 80s/90s. From a PR perspective, it might be attractive. But is it clever? No, not really.

Safe to say, the punnage here,

Is really bloody poor

Repetition, Double meaning Dix-

Oops my bad, it’s Foxtons,

Does this moment count as a pun? Maybe.

Foxtons by M&C Saatchi Accelerator | LBBOnline

Contrasting pairs,

Not many layers,

To this rather **** ad

REPETITION/CONTRASTING PAIRS: Sorry, the lyrics got explicit here- couldn’t help it. Foxton’s is spoon-feeding here. It’s rather cringe. This ad may have benefited from a visual pun of some kind instead of putting it to copy?

AdsSpot. Advertising Archive. Commercials Database. Creative Library.

Moving on, anagrams now,


Pretty clever,

Well put-together,

Five puns out of five

Yes, and five stars out of five. A clever anagram, especially for a generation who grew up with FRIENDS. Considering the longevity of the show’s run, this anagram reframes the show around its conclusion and makes the audience view the show as they know it in its final-episode-terms.

Safe to say,

Puns can be annoying,

Depends on the technique,

You’re deploying,

So keep it safe,

Don’t put your genius to waste and

Don’t get up to too much punny business

Enough said. Puns can be dangerous. They may seem reliable for their humour, shock-value and hint of intelligence, but they run the risk of being totally far-fetched, incomprehensible, repetitive and cringey.

Caroline’s workshop ultimately reminded me that I need to snap out of my dependence on puns. Or at least consider how clever they can actually be. It’s very easy to drown amongst the puns and use them as second nature. But do they ultimately deliver that ‘aha that’s clever’ moment or is it a stretch beyond the core of what is being advertised? Does it play on a human truth or is it you just trying to be clever?

Be careful with your puns. Think about the thought.

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