“We’re committed to excellence.” Everyone from an airline company to a baby food company has used that phrase in their ads. But what exactly does it mean?
Nothing, to be precise.
Catch phrases and buzz words like “unique,” “innovators” and let’s not forget “state of the art,” are so overused in marketing and advertising that they’ve lost their meaning. In an industry that’s more cluttered than a hoarder’s basement, it makes no sense to pay for a message that doesn’t really say anything.
Sure, it’s not an easy task to write copy that’s both informative and attention grabbing. But that’s what a professional copywriter trains long and hard to do. However, if you can’t afford one or need to write advertising copy yourself, the key is to avoid these overused clichés and be simple and specific.
Now that we’ve established that “We are committed to excellence” says nothing about what your company does or what sets you apart from your competitors, let’s go back and rework that tagline.
Something like “A Comfortable flight, every time” immediately tells the customer what this airline is all about and “Pure Food, Healthy Baby” says precisely why this baby food is excellent.
You should also avoid using superlatives like “the best,” “the finest” and, unless you’ve won the Ms. World pageant, stay away from proclaiming you’re the “the world’s best“at anything. So let’s leave these superlatives for the mug people, and only use them if you can back it up with an award/review/ tiara of some sorts.
Now let’s talk about the word “unique”. It’s not —unique that is.
Instead of saying you’re different, show your audience how you’re different. Focus your message on that one thing that makes you different. It may be the fact that you deliver products at the speed of light or that you only use locally sourced ingredients in your food. Effective headline and copy are based on simple truths.
Always remember that your audience is smart and perceptive. They appreciate it when you’re honest. If your product is expensive and there’s a valid reason why it’s expensive, then acknowledge that in your ads. There’s something very refreshing about honesty, so tap into it and stay away from the “buzz word” trap.
Ad legend Ogilvy summed it up very simply when he said, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.”