Posted by Floyd Diebel 3 Comments

Ad Clichés Are for the Birds

I wonder how much big-picture thought honestly goes into much of the advertising we’re all exposed to. Although I don’t think it works like this in the “real world”, I believe that we (the people in marketing and advertising) have a responsibility to ourselves, our clients, and our target audiences to avoid pat clichés and re-double-plus-think every campaign we work on. Besides, the work is more fun that way.

A huge amount advertising follows cyclical homogeneous trends, but some copywriting clichés have really stood the test of time.

But umm, I should cut that rant short and get to the point.

A huge amount of ad copy and design follows cyclical homogeneous trends, but some of the best (worst) copywriting clichés have really stood the test of time. Unfortunately.  Here’s a few that have been making my head explode recently. Like in that movie Scanners.

In Today’s World (or In Today’s ___ World)

This one is goofy and has a gajillion variants like “In today’s fast-paced world, you need a [digital device] that will [some empowering action]” or “In today’s world of cheap cars and fast women, you need a bank account that’s as loose as you are!”

Doesn’t Your ___ Deserve ___?

This one is usually wrapped up with an implication of irresponsibility and guilt, and uses that guilt to sell stuff!  “Doesn’t your pet deserve the best pet food?” (how could you be feeding them less than the best! You evil subhuman troll!)  “Doesn’t your wife deserve our new vacuum cleaner?” (I’m sure your neighbor Bill will give her a nicer vacuum cleaner if you can’t do it)  “Doesn’t your child deserve the best health care?” etc./ etc. ad infinitum.

Let’s Face It

This is probably my personally most-hated, the one that really makes me cringe.  “Let’s face it – I’m talking to you on your level – I’m a regular Joe like you – you can trust me, and we’re both in this together! Buy this widget you don’t need like I did, and it will be great!

Sometimes, this can be combined with another cliché, as in “Let’s face it – in today’s digital world, you need an inkjet printer that’s smarter than you are.

But Wait! Order Now and….

Also known as Act now! (there’s usually an As seen on TV! somewhere nearby too), and mostly associated with a special offer, this one’s an old standby for pushing weird products like chia pets, clappers, and food dehydrators on naive people that don’t read the fine print and just have to have that flobee now, especially since it comes with a full accessory kit for free!!!!!one!11

There’s so many more of these that I could go on and on, but Stephen will get mad at me and take my set of Ronco steak knives away from me if I do.

  • Phone-it-in ad featuring a variety of people (viewed in quick succession) just smiling and gazing into the camera. ( I guess they’re satisfied customers). They are often wearing a t-shirt with a single word that conveys just how warm and fuzzy their relationship with the advertiser is. Sometimes they each spout the same word or phrase such as: “I switched …I switched…” – then, together-“we all switched to …” You’re telling me that corporations actually pay big money to create such tripe?
    It is to barf.

  • I am seeing a lot of negative comments KINDA but nothing really specific about ronco’s knife sale. Does anyone have a personal experience with Ronco’s Knife offerings? You are welcome to contact me via email. Thanks for taking the time. Mike
    PS….I guess I am looking for a reason NOT to buy them but so far, I haven’t found a REAL ONE yet. Thanks

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