Words Matter

10 words or phrases to stop using in your marketing narratives.

Let’s get real.

The words we use to communicate with potential customers are the cornerstone of any marketing effort, be it digital, analogue, BTL, TTL, ATL or sandwich board.

Companies need to start speaking a new language. The language of humans. It’s time for brands to be students of how people actually talk. They need to speak with them not at them and in a tone that is authentic to what they’re about as a brand.

Oscar-winning screenwriter (A Few Good Men and The West Wing) Aaron Sorkin says, “no-one ever in life starts a sentence with damn it.”

It’s a good observation for screenwriting and for advertising dialogue for that matter, but what are some of the more common words and phrases we should drop from our advertising vocab immediately?

Here’s a handy starter guide.

Really

This word is a really, really big waste of space. It reeks of insincerity.

Busy lifestyle

Very few, if any of us go around talking to our friends about our, “busy lifestyle”. We do talk about being busy or super busy, but not so much our lifestyle being busy.

Are you tired of…

This phrase gives me the absolute shits. It is some of the laziest advertising writing going around. Asking questions you don’t know the answer to is dangerous in a court of law and in ad writing. As a rule, stop using questions to start your advertising.

Just

This word is out of date and insanely overused. If you’re using price to get people’s attention, tell them the price. If your price is good it should speak for itself without the “just”.

Shop with confidence

In meaning it isn’t bad, but the execution is challenging. Simply give us the “why”. If customers are going to shop with confidence because of a price guarantee, tell us.

WWW.

If we all don’t know this by now, then let’s just pack up and go home. You don’t need those W’s before your domain name anymore. Also, you don’t need to lead in with phrases like, “see us online at”.

Hurry down

Thanks for telling me, I’ll drop what I’m doing and get right down there.

Big Savings

It’s fine to talk to people about what you’re doing or what you’d like to do. “We love saving people money.” What isn’t fine is to go on about the big, big savings you’re offering. Why? Because it has been overused for about 40 years.

Friendly staff

Having people that are friendly is an expected attribute for any company. If you’re hanging your hat on this as a key pillar, you might be in trouble. Don’t tell them. Show them.

Conveniently located

Why do we need ads to sound like ads? People want to talk to other people or companies that sound human, not cliched. Conveniently located is one of those phrases that really doesn’t add value unless that is your key point of difference.

All rules are meant to be broken, but overall just really, really keep in mind that getting people to hurry on down to your location to see your friendly staff so they can get some big savings because they’re tired of their busy lifestyle requires speaking to them like humans not like every ad you’ve ever heard.

 

Eric Stephens
ECD | Managing Director

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.