Corporate Eye

Getting The Tone of Voice Right

Every site I visit has one or more of the standard set of links at the bottom. I’m sure you know the ones I mean: copyright, accessibility, legal, privacy… The difficulty with these pages is that the content is ‘off-message’. It doesn’t fit the main purpose of the site, but is essential. That’s why it’s often tucked away in the footer.

Typically, these pages are uninteresting, often written in ‘legalese’, and probably go largely unread. Except by me…

I was entertained, then, to come across Tyrrell’s Rather Dull Formalities page. Already, I’m interested: they’ve neatly captured their brand’s tone of voice in naming the link. Somehow, Rather Dull Formalities is so much more intriguing than Legal/Disclaimer.

I don’t know whether Big Fish developed the content for this site as well as the design, but whoever did has done a fab job. Look at the navigation menu for more: ‘Have a little browse’, for example, and ‘You can even win things’… Delightful.

What do I like about this? Four things:

  • highly unusually, there’s an image on the page – it’s consistent with the rest of the site and the brand, and very cleverly chosen to complement the page
  • the text introducing the page is unexpected—entertaining and personal—matching the tone of voice of the rest of the site
  • the main body of content, which isn’t simple material to communicate, is clearly written in straightforward language, making it easy to understand
  • And at the bottom of the page: social media share buttons, on one of these mandatory pages. That is unusual too.

And people have enjoyed this legal/disclaimer/privacy page enough to Like it on Facebook.


It’s not a huge number of people, but it is astonishing that people have read the page at all, never mind enjoyed it enough to Like it.

After all, how many people have Liked other privacy pages?

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Great article. I’m the creative director over at big fish, and yes we do write all the content for Tyrrells as we’re their branding, design + marketing consultancy. Tyrrells are a rare breed when it comes to being “good clients” as they really understand the importance of looking after their consumers and entertaining their audience, which is why we were able to make even the dullest things a little more interesting. They run a tight and single-minded ship, and, even though they are an incredibly successful business, they don’t behave like their big corporate competitors who would no doubt have had some tedious grey legal department crawling all over the text refusing to allow this kind of thing. Good old Tyrrells don’t stand for any of that nonsense. That’s what being ‘The Most Entertaining and Really Rather Special English Crisp Company’ is all about. Thanks for the kind words.

And they make good crisps!

It is often the little things that make the difference in how a brand is perceived online. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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