In the past few days, everyone I know has freaked out about what’s been on the news.
You’ve seen the story. Pirates attacked a cruise ship off the coast of Africa over the weekend.
Invariably, when I’m in a room with someone when this story comes on, they look at me (even people in my house) and ask “There are still pirates?!?”
Now obviously, these people that attacked the cruise ship did not have hand hooks, wooden legs and parrots on their shoulders. But that is the exact mental image that hits everyone around me when they hear this story. That image of a “pirate” is the common world view for most people.
The news was not “wrong” by reporting that pirates had attacked. By definition, anyone who attempts to steal while at sea is a pirate. But what if the news had reported that armed thugs attempted to attack a cruise ship? Different mental images?
And in other news, let’s not forget all the teenage “pirates” with FUBU parrots on their shoulders downloading media off the Internet while being pursued by the MPAA and RIAA ships.
Words are a powerful tool in marketing. As you write ad copy or tell your product story to the intended market, you’re sending a message. You think that the message is obvious and clear. Is it?
As the collective market becomes more fragmented, using words that mean the same thing to everyone will become harder to do.
The words you use can conjure up many different mental images in your market’s minds. Be careful and thoughtful as to how you use them.
Since this is probably the only marketing post I will ever have to involve pirates, let’s go all the way…
–What’s a pirate’s favorite fast food restaurant?…Arrrghby’s Roast Beef
–What’s a pirate’s favorite “Andy Griffith” character?….Barrrghney Fife (close 2nd – Floyd the Barrrghber)
–One of my favorite comedy websites, McSweeneys, has a list of Pirate Riddles for Sophisticates.