Turn on a radio. Watch local television. Open a paper. Drive by a billboard.
Count the clichés.
Identifying a cliché is simple. Just listen/look for the most overused, overworked, hackneyed, predictable, unoriginal, uninspired collection of crummy copywriting. You’ll know it when you hear it.
That is, if you hear it at all. Therein lies the danger of a cliché. The more an old saying is used, the less it’s actually heard.
Clichés cause us to tune out.
So, why do we use them?
Reason 1 – They’re EASY.
You’re a copywriter. You’ve spent all day writing ad after ad. You’re tired. Your brain is mush.
Or you’re rushed. The deadline is looming. You have to write something and you have to write it NOW.
You could carefully craft a painstakingly persuasive message that cuts through the clutter and truly speaks to the heart of the consumer.
Or you could just throw together some crappy clichés and be done with it.
Reason 2 – You don’t have anything else to say.
It’s hard to write an ad for a business if the business owner doesn’t doesn’t give you anything remarkable to say.
Clichés fill the void left by lack of good information.
And they must be stopped.
Beginning Friday, as a service to the business community, I will be counting down the seven most abhorrent clichés in advertising.
Full disclosure: I’ve used them all. I’m not proud. I was young and I needed the money.