May 16, 2004

boring copy - writing as decor

If you're going to use copy have the good sense to make it stand out. Have it say something. And if you're using it as wallpaper save money and effort by buying actual wallpaper. Don't do what these clowns are doing ...

Seth Godin points to this fine example of pointless copy - he speaks of it as copy as decoration. It certainly can't be intended to be read. For one thing, it's a reddish brown font on a golden brown background. Not exactly a high contrast presentation that allows you to read the text or, for that matter, even to notice it.

And what does it actually say? It says this (caps as per the sign):

Savor the
Finest Coffee
Selected, and
For Your

Supposing you actually noticed the words and were bored enough to read them, what does this tell you? What do the words do?

Nothing. First of all, I've never been to any coffee place that didn't claim to have "the finest coffee." (And it's always "finest," never another word since coffee drinkers are presumably a pretentious group, or so marketers believe.)

It would certainly get my attention if it announced second-rate coffee, but it might have a negative effect on sales. As it is, the copy is all cliches, redundant phrases used a billion times over for selling coffee. It has no meaning. They may as well have a sign saying, "For all your coffee drinking needs."

If you're going to write something and you're going to make the same damn claim everyone else is making, at least have the good sense to find some new words or phrases. At least it will then have something to distinguish it. But if you want it to really work, say something different. With a gazillion coffee places in the world, why should someone go to yours? What makes you different? What makes you better?

Finally, if you write something ask yourself how you would respond to it. If it does nothing for you it sure ain't going to do something for someone else.

(Yes, this post states the obvious but it's worth repeating since so much writing makes this fundamental mistake.)

No comments: