A Rose by Any Other Name

by Phil Grisolia - Date: 2006-12-05 - Word Count: 394 Share This!

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or so the saying goes. Well, what may be true for roses doesn't always hold true when for other things in life. Many, when we call them what they are, become quick turn-offs.

What got me started taking a second look at what we call all kinds of things was a nicely done TV commercial for a sleeping pill. At least I assume it's a pill. It could also be a powder, perhaps even a liquid. But, never having taken it, I don't actually know. Nor do I care. I sleep quite well, thank you.

The point is this: What caught my attention as someone who earns his living massaging words - writing marketing and corporate communications copy, actually - was this commercial's offer of a "7 Night Challenge." Now, what in the heck might that be? The spot goes on to suggest - like so many medicinal commercial these days - that you "ask your doctor" for the details.

Someplace in the back of my mind lurks the suspicion that a "7 Night Challenge" is a free trial of some sort, or perhaps a deep discount on a trial-size purchase. If it is a free offer, why not say so? "Free" has for years been grabbing more people's attention than virtually any other word in our language. And, even if it's only some kind of discount, however steep it may be, why not say so. "Save X%" or "Save $X.00" has always worked before.

Could it be that times have changed, at least as it relates to things medicinal? When you think about it, it makes sense. It's OK to "Save 25%" on tires. Or to "Save $10.00" on a $30 sweater. (Yep, always include that decimal point and those two extra zeros to make the savings look like more than what they actually are. Right?) But neither approach seems to fit well with something as important or as upscale as a peace-inducing, sleep-inducing medicinal product.

Therein lies a lesson for all of us who attempt to write great copy - whether for broadcast spots, Websites or even news releases - something we must constantly be aware of. The words we use, the tone we establish, the attitude we convey, must at a minimum fit the stature of the product or service we're describing. Better yet, our words should serve to enhance that stature.

Related Tags: content, direct mail, tv, radio, magazines, contents, telemarketing, markekting, copy, writing copy, good copy

© 2006, Philip A. Grisolia, CBC

Phil Grisolia is by profession a "wordsmith" - occasionally with a sense of humor. An accredited Certified Business Communicator (CBC), Phil is also a consultant and business coach to owners of small and start-up companies, an author, educator and an award-winning copywriter. To learn more about Phil and the types of help he provides for his clients, visit PhilGrisolia.com . While there, sign up for a free subscription to his best-in-class newsletter - Making Sense of Marketing™.

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