Ad Breakdown: Sony’s Fruit Bowl

Lewis Folkard

Lewis Folkard

Suffolk-based conversion copywriter.

Sony Fruit Bowl ad

Today I’m setting a new “blog rule”. It’s a bit of fun for me but it means you’ll get more for less. And that’s what counts.

Every ad breakdown from now on (at least until it doesn’t feel right) will be 600 words. Not a word more. Although, there may be some ‘special editions’ coming…

Fruit bowl

Today we have a 1993 Sony ad. BBH were responsible. In particular, Steve Hooper (copywriter), Dennis Lewis (art director) and David Stewart (photographer).

Before we look into the ad, let’s look at it.

And so you can actually read the copy…

Body copy from Sony ad

The main technique

In Mario Pricken’s “Kickstart Catalogue”, he lists techniques used in many award-winning ads. It sounds restrictive to categorise ads like this, but the categories are basically bottomless. And it helps us understand them.

Today’s ad slips nicely into ‘compare and contrast’.

Mario explains… 

“What can the product be compared with to make the benefit obvious at a glance?”

A fruit bowl, maybe? 

I’m not entirely sure why… so why not? It’s ‘homely’, and we can all picture a fruit bowl without much thinking. It’s a good reference for the size and how it’d look in our living room. I think.

But notice how the benefit is only obvious once you’ve interacted with the ad.


The more time we spend focusing on an ad, the more likely we are to remember it. So encouraging your reader to interact with your ad means neural pathways can form, and mental availability can increase. It works the same with social ads.

What I like about this ad though, is that the ‘interactive-ness’ sorta makes a double meaning. It gives two benefits at once. Where you put your finger(s) changes the message. 

Ads that engage the right side of our brain like this are often more effective than ones that don’t.

Let’s also not forget that because the headline makes closing the loop it inadvertently opens look so straightforward, engaging with the ad is very appealing.

Language notes

Early on, the ad references ‘Arnold Shortzenegger’. It’s stupid but funny. And slyly taps into the Halo Effect. Existing positive associations around Arnie unconsciously transfer onto the product. 

What’s more, because it’s funny, it helps disarm the reader and build a more trusting ‘connection’.

I also like how the copy mentions different musical environments (“jazz club”, “disco”, “Wembley Stadium” etc) – in the context of versatility. These environments all have ‘feels’ to them so the ad doesn’t need to explain them. Again, this rubs off onto the product.

Did you spot how the copy mentions some music jargon too? There could be two reasons for this: to appeal to music nerds… or to give the impression they are. 

Because by explaining these terms, they either talk to those that know, or help educate those that don’t. And by adding this kind of value, the reader feels good and thus (mildly) more likely to buy.

To end

So there we are. Compare and contrast to make your benefit easier to grasp. Make your ad interactive to extend engagement and increase mental availability. And then offer value to build trust and increase desire to buy.

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