If George Carlin were an ad copywriter

This week, I’ve seen lots of blogs point out and comment on an article from the June BusinessWeek about the Five Words to Never Use in an Ad. The article’s writer thinks those words are: Quality, Value, Service, Caring, and Integrity.

The article makes really good points about each word. I agree there are words that have lost alot of their power because marketers have used them so much and backed them up with empty promises. And while I’m glad someone is preaching a little common sense to battle the all the web “consultants” and spam advice about “magic ad words”….I don’t think you should ban certain words and never use them in your copy. You should use the best words in your copy that will sell the product.

Here’s a scenario that I’m almost positive that happened at some organization this week: The owner/CEO/manager of some company read the BusinessWeek article…looked at his own company’s advertising…saw one of the words….(Ask about our 24-Hour Service policy!) and then showed his great marketing knowledge by having all the ads redone. (And then think about the poor marketing schmuck at True Value Hardware….or ServiceMaster)

Instead of banning words to use in ads, I’d rather see companies start doing RELEVANT advertising. How about developing ads that attempt to sell the product? Oddly, those types of ads are the ones that are missing as I flip through the paper. And if I found a relevant ad that used the word “quality” in the proper context?…I might let it pass.

Words are important. You need to carefully weigh EACH word in every touchpoint you have with consumers. If one of these 5 words (or any word) doesn’t fit, delete it. But if it makes the ad work, use it.

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