Amazing, Fantastic, Unbelievable!

Stop Using these Meaningless Words in Your Marketing

While listening to Pandora this morning, my ears were presented with the following prototypical ad:

Hey, Pandora listener!  Visit [brand website] for all your [sales category] needs!  You’ll find an amazing selection of great products at unbelievable prices!  

Although this is what the advertisement Want to know what I actually heard?

Hey, Pandora listener!  [Brand website X] sells [sales category]!  You’ll find an undefined selection of products, which may or may not be good, at a price point that may or may not be competitive!

Seriously, this is how my brain hears these kinds of ads.  Words like “amazing,” “fantastic,””unbelievable,” etc, have been so overused that they mean nothing.  Will I really be “amazed” by saving 30 cents of frozen peas?  Will I be dumbstruck by the presentation of 6 choices of motor oil?  Probably not.

I understand the temptation to use these filler words.  Sometimes, an ad feels naked without these descriptors, or maybe they just convey the proper rhythm or cadence of natural language.  Without the adornment of these words, an ad might come across as curt.

Unfortunately, Millennials like myself have been inoculated against this kind of language.  We just don’t trust it.  Kate Taylor over at Enterpreneur writes that Millennials are, “used to not trusting CEOs and politicians and just corporations in general,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of the Gen Y research and management consulting firm Millennial Branding.”

A 2017 study by the McCarthy Group came to the same conclusion: “Millennials are…much more trusting of information sources that are not actively focused on manipulating selling messages.”

How is using an innocent descriptor like “amazing” manipulative, you ask?  Simple – it ensures that the advertising claim can’t be verified.  It’s designed to evoke a positive emotion without committing to anything

So What’s the Solution?

To get away from the pitfall of these “fluff” words degrading their credibility, advertisers should consider a different approach.  Here’s a few examples:

Connect with your audience on an authentic level.  

Hey Pandora listeners!  We hope you enjoyed that last song.  Thanks for taking the time to listen to this ad. I’m Andrew from [brand] and I wanted to let you know that… [insert value proposition here]

Tell an engaging story:

So there you are, relaxing on the beach in front of your sprawling Caribbean manor house, sipping a fruity cocktail brought to you by your tuxedoed butler while your beautiful spouse massages the kinks from your back, when suddenly you’re struck by a thought – did I pay too much for my [product]?  [Insert value proposition here]

Get specific:

Hey, Pandora listener!  What are your plans for dinner this week?  Visit a [grocery brand] store for everything you need to make [popular dinner category]!  We have [product] for just [specific price,]  and [complimentary product] for just [specific price].  You’ll save [specific amount] than the regular price – and your family will love you for cooking dinner?  (And if they don’t love your cooking, you can fall back on our ready-to-eat [popular dinner category] at our deli for just [specific price.]  Bon appetit! 




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