cli·ché (noun) – a phrase that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought
Just for fun sometime, make a mental note of all the ads you encounter that contain these five words: “for all your __________ needs.”
Every time you hear or see that phrase, know that the copywriter was on auto-pilot. It is simply the most insipid, threadbare, worn-out, uninspired, unoriginal, vapid, meaningless, and useless phrase in all of advertising.
While by no means the only cliché upon which too many copywriters lean to fill time or space, it does top the list.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I stumbled across a remarkable website created by Larry Fuss, owner of Delta Broadcasting, for the benefit of radio advertisers and radio advertising professionals alike. It was a page entitled FOR ALL YOUR STUPID CLICHE NEEDS.
I’ve often wondered how the phrase became so ubiquitous. Did the new advertiser or ad writer assume, because they’d heard it used so often by so many different businesses, that it must be important to include it in their own advertising? Or were they, as my friend Larry so bluntly put it, just being “incredibly lazy?” (In the interest of full disclosure, having been an ad writer for more than 40 years, I’ve foisted my share of this drivel upon listeners, too. Hopefully less often these days.)
Some clichés seem to attract certain categories of advertisers. Automobile dealers, for example, are overly fond of this one: “There’s never been a better time to buy!” Does anybody really believe this? Of course not. Not even when the announcer is shouting it with a reverb effect to boost the hype.
In one ear and out the other.
So why do they continue to use these ridiculous, overblown claims in their advertising? Why do advertisers insist on saying things like: “Never before and never again will prices be this low!” only to inform you the following week that their big whoopdedoo is being “held over by popular demand?”
Please, please, please give consumers credit for being smarter than that.
The typical car buyer goes into the dealership having done enough research online to know as much about the vehicle she’s going to buy as the salesman who’s going to sell it to her. Same goes for most other significant retail purchases. The internet and smartphones have tilted the scales in favor of the consumer. Get over it. Today’s buyer wants the the plain truth, not hype. Just the facts, ma’am.
“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.” – David Ogilvy
If this was true fifty-plus years ago, when Ogilvy penned those famous words, how much more so today?