Two phrases caught my attention this week and made me smile for their inventive use of words.
The first was ‘economic patriotism’, dreamed up by a candidate in the French presidential election as a euphemism for paying higher taxes. How to make something bad sound something good.
The second was ‘omni shambles’, coined to describe a bad week for the Government. A week, then, when all (‘omni’) that could go wrong did go wrong.
Clever, unusual or simply pleasing combinations of words will always make a copywriter happy. Finding gripping, evocative and convincing words make our clients happy too, because they will get a message across with more impact on a website or in a brochure.
I’ll often advise a client to be bold. Yes, their message is serious, but they shouldn’t afraid to be different and sometimes a bit daring in the language they use. It’s a question of tone and speaking in a way that resonates with their target audience.
This can mean copywriting in a casual, conversational rather than formal style. It can mean suggesting dialogue with the audience, as in: ‘With our 20 year track-record we’re world experts in this sector. Ok, you’d expect us to say that, so let us tell you what makes us so good.’
It should always mean avoiding clichés. A recent client said she hated the word ‘passionate’ because too many businesses used it.
What about ‘bespoke’ or ‘tailored to your needs’? These are close to becoming clichés and saying it in a different way might work better.
Stay fresh, stay effective.