Trite Right: Fancy Ads That Say...Blah!

Continuing this month with in-depth tips from my article, "12 Deadly Communication Sins of Advertising" is today's two-fold topic of being trite.  Here are two closely related communication faux pas in advertising that results in most readers clicking the delete button or throwing away that flyer.

Trite Right Nothing says blah like "Great!", "Fantastic!", "Superb!", "Marvelous!" and "FREE!" These words are so overused that they no longer hold any meaning for potential customers. Use unique words when you describe your products/services. Marvelous can mean almost anything! After all, one man's marvelous is another man's ho hum. These are typical sales words. They scream "I WANT TO SELL YOU SOMETHING!"  Don't use them. SHOUTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Speaking of screaming, don't use all caps and don't use a barrage of exclamation marks. Marketing copy with a large quantity of words in all caps (or a sea of exclamation points!!!) gives the impression that you are an amateur. Nobody wants to pay an amateur. They want a professional. How do you react when you see an email with fourteen colors and six kinds of font in four sizes that boasts generic, insincere verbiage such as:

FREE Sample!


Fantastic DEAL!!!!

I don't know about you, but it's enough to make me yawn!  What's so incredible and fantastic about your product?  In fact, what is your product? What kind of deal are you talking about and this is a free sample of...WHAT?  I'm a fairly smart gal.  If you tell me what it is, I'll be able to decide for myself if it's an incredible deal.  Heck, I may even want to buy it! However, give me a bunch of overused, generic terms not so efficiently cloaked in hype and wrapped with a colored ribbon, and I don't really care if you've got the cure for my lifetime illness, I'm outta there! It's simple, really.  Just give me the facts, tell me what your product can do for me and give me the information so I can look up the details when I'm ready.  I don't need "Pomp and Circumstance." A similar marketing technique that borders on scam is to use flowery religious language in order to attempt to solicit business or donations.  These usually begin: "Greetings in the holy name of our Lord and Father..."  I think it comes off in bad taste when an ad appears to use religion or God in order to make money.  Somehow this appears to be more of a technique than a genuine motive.  I think it also leaves a bad impression on the nonreligious as it makes all religious people appear self-serving. What do you all think?  What experiences have you had with companies who market using these techniques? x *SUBSCRIBE HERE*: for More Communication Fun, FREE Gifts and Exclusive Offers! x


  • Carla

    I agree with everything you said, JoJo. Unfortunately, I’ve had way too much experience with these types of ads. I’ve been on the Yahoo WAHM sales groups for about 10 years now and. . . hoo boy! Yes, I know you need to draw attention but, as you said. . . give me the scoop and let me do what I need to do on it. I’m with Sgt. Joe Friday and his, “Just the facts, ma’am.” I just delete, delete, delete when I see a lot of what you have so aptly described above.

    Oh, and one more that gets my goat. . . or several goats? I see a great subject line (typo free!) and am truly interested in the product described in the email. I click on the provided link and. . . that product, that I TRULY WANT TO PURCHASE, doesn’t appear anywhere on the page. And I mean NOWHERE, MAN! This happened to me twice this weekend. It’s bad enough having to chase the link around the site, but there was not even a reference to said product. Got me in a foul mood. So guess what happens when I see something else from these folks? DELETE, DELETE, DELETE! I don’t care how bad I want or need it. Somebody else will have it. Grrrrrrrrrrr

  • jojosblog

    Thanks for contributing to the conversation, Jen. I agree with you. Insincerity is easily spotted. It is often apparent that “God led them” to call just about everyone who left their phone number. I could understand if you had a conversation with them about wanting or needing a second income and so they felt God leading them to call you. But this feels like a sales call.

  • Jen

    We just received one of those “religious” calls from a home group person. We have only attended 2 times. So “the Lord led them to call us concerning a business we might be interested in”. That is just WRONG!! We may have been interested BUT they had to say God led them to call us? UGH!!
    I appreciate your blog JoJo.

  • jojosblog

    Oh a very good point, Carla! Not having the link to what you are advertising in the ad is very frustrating for customers!

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