(Tim Miles is reliving the best and worst parts of the summer of 1977 – attempting to visit 14 states in 14 days with his family and only Pringles, Hawaiian Punch, and spray cheese for provisions. He’s banned iPads and is forcing his family to enjoy car bingo, the license plate game, AM radio, and the occasional 8-track tape. In his absence, Ryan Patrick has the conn.)
Turn on a radio. Watch local television. Open a newspaper. Drive by a billboard.
Count the clichés.
Identifying a cliché is simple. Just listen 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 a tired slogan is used, the less it’s actually heard. And the less effective it becomes.
Clichés cause us to tune out.
So, why the heck do we still 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 simply throw together some crappy clichés and be on your way.
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 tomorrow, as a service to the business community, I will be counting down the seven most obnoxious, abhorrent, offensive, despicable, and overused clichés in advertising.
Full disclosure: I’ve used them all. I’m not proud. I was young and I needed the money.