Was “Broadchurch” scripted by a copywriter?


Now into its second season, British crime drama fans are still debating the relative merits of ITV’s flagship program “Broadchurch”. The series deals with the murder of a young boy in a small seaside town, the reactions of family and friends, and the police investigation that follows.

A picture of the cast of Broadchurch

Copywriters could learn a lot from the story of these fictional characters.

Image © ITV 2013




The success of the series, which generated massive viewing figures, is undeniable. But the script also contains a number of useful nuggets for copywriters to use in their own projects too.


Why? Because Broadchurch delivered exactly what it promised. As should your copy.


Know your audience

The reason Broadchurch proved so popular was that the writers clearly knew and understood their audience. The 9pm Monday night slot is fiercely contested, so in order to win a ratings war, you have to know who will be watching and what they want to see.


There is no difference when it comes to successful copywritingwho are you writing for and what do they want to see?


Make your audience feel good about themselves

By the penultimate episode of Broadchurch, most viewers had already correctly identified the killer. Some of the sharper amateur crime sleuths claimed to have nailed the perpetrator even earlier. But the real skill was the way in which the writers let everyone think they had solved the case themselves, beating the police to the correct conclusion.


For the copywriter, the same trick is particularly helpful. Make your audience feel good about themselves and they are more likely to appreciate your offering.


Deliver what you promise

Broadchurch made a number of promises, and it managed to deliver on every one to the satisfaction of the characters in the story and the viewers at home.

  • We were promised a crime drama packed with twists and turns – we got it.
  • We were promised that a killer would be unmasked – we got it.
  • We were promised a story with a proper conclusion – we got it.


Because the script writers delivered on every promise, viewers were satisfied by the program. For an example of how do over-promise and under-deliver, check out the blog post on BBC One’s Mayday.


Your copy and marketing materials must always be truthful and only ever promise what your company can actually deliver. If you over-promise and under-deliver, your customers will feel cheated and you can kiss goodbye to any repeat business from them.


So was Broadchurch scripted by a copywriter? Probably not (there was no call to action after all!), but there was plenty that copywriters could learn from the series.


Need a hand? Drop me a line so we can talk about your readers, their needs and how to translate that knowledge into profit for your business.