Stop The Cliches
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It’s Killing Your Marketing Campaign
The worn out cliché, “think outside the box” is so predictable people start to yawn by the time you get to “the”. Now if you were to say “think outside the rain barrel“ this could actually wake them up. When your audience knows what is coming next, you have lost them. They will tune you out!
The cliché, “don’t cry over spilt milk” can be annoying if not condescending. I might need to heal my wounds before moving forward. May need time to reflect on what went wrong.
“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” is a downer when you have high hopes. If we all had to proceed with the negatives, I doubt if anyone would dare to take a chance with new endeavors.
Be appreciative “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” but not such a blessing if coupled with restrictions from others.
Are you telling me I should not challenge when you say “don’t rock the boat”, even if this goes against everything I believe is right.
Don’t age yourself
This one is annoying “don’t take any wooden nickels” this shows your age. Fine, if you want people to perceive you as ancient.
“Early bird catches the worm” are you implying that someone is lazy? Are you setting them to a higher standard? It is also too darn chipper for people who are not morning lovers.
“Every fiber of my being” wow, a little intense! Are you sure it impacts you that much…far too much drama?
“Everything but the kitchen sink” sure, of course it is! Why stretch the truth? Are you trying to impress or are you trying to keep a secret?
Another annoying comment “for what it’s worth” which can be hurtful if used in the wrong context.
Very old school for computers “garbage in, garbage out” so boring!
Anxiety builder “go for broke” who wants that to happen?
A real silly one “good things come to those who wait” you can wait a lifetime for this one to materialize.
Grounds for screaming!
I want to clobber someone who tells me “hold your horses”. I don’t have any horses and I don’t appreciate your impatience.
“Jump on the bandwagon” why should I follow your lead, just because you said so?
This makes me want to scream “keep it simple, stupid”. Are you implying someone is stupid?
“Light at the end of the tunnel”. Maybe, but when will this be over and things get better, when I ask you, WHEN?
“Like taking candy from a baby”. Are you telling me you are taking advantage of others? Not a personality with integrity!
“More than one way to skin a cat” I love cats and I find this sickening.
“Not playing with a full deck” are you saying someone is not as bright as you are? That is just plain mean.
“Opportunity doesn’t knock twice”. This sounds like you are pressuring me into a one-time offer and I lose if I don’t listen to you…do not like to be threatened with an ultimatum.
“Six of one, half a dozen of another” hate the phrase. At 7 years old it was funny, but not now.
“This hurts me worse than it hurts you”. I doubt it, I have a low tolerance for pain.
We know what you mean most of the time, but don’t use them!
Before you plant a bunch of clichés in your copy and marketing campaign, try to figure out how your clients might interpret them. Clichés can trigger life experiences, some might not be so pleasant. Before you embark on cleaver copy, remember it could be a disaster if you offend someone.
Clichés are like fancy words, you can annoy but rarely impress a would be client. Stop and consider the ramifications before you press “publish”.
For one last twist: when you have lemons why not make “lemon pie“!
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As a copywriter:
I help businesses grow through marketing.
Bringing products and services to the world.