A Clever Copywriting Trick Makes This Ray Donovan Ad One to Remember

Showtime captures the character's duality

We’re suckers for advertising craft that cleverly embodies the brand message. Here’s a great example from Showtime’s in-house ad team, which is rolling out a promo today for Ray Donovan that employs a fun copywriting twist to reveal both sides of the drama’s title character.

The first half of the spot is menacing, as actor Liev Schreiber delivers a voiceover in character in which he appears to be threatening someone. But then the second half of the ad, in which Schreiber says the exact same words, comes across as completely the opposite—hopeful and reassuring.

See the spot here:

Reordering the phrases is a fun idea, and not just a gimmick. It nicely captures both sides of the character—a duality that’s a key draw of the show. It’s also apt to focus on Ray this way, as he’s closing one chapter of his life and starting anew in Season 5.

It’s not just the writing that’s reversed, either. The music track, “Androids Always Escape” by Chris Zabriskie, is played backwards through the first half of the spot, then forwards in the second half—the same piece of music reinforcing the two starkly different moods.

Season 5 of Ray Donovan premieres Aug. 6 on Showtime.

Don Buckley, Chief Marketing Officer, Showtime Networks Inc
Erik Friedman, VP, Creative Director, Showtime Networks Inc
Melody Regnier, Senior Creative Director, Showtime Networks Inc
Ian Brier, Creative Director, Showtime Networks Inc
Jonathan Rauberts, Creative Director, Showtime Networks Inc
Mark Auleta, Animator, Showtime Networks Inc
Bill Lacey, Audio Engineer – Sound Design, Showtime Networks Inc
Chris Zabriskie, Composer
Music Info: “Androids Always Escape” by Chris Zabriskie
Voiceover: Liev Schreiber