Yesterday, the same day that this was posted at Seth Godin’s blog, the manager of the local Starbuck’s visited our office with two containers of complimentary Espresso Truffle specialty beverage and cups for sampling — a mid-afternoon pick-up. I’m not much of a Starbucks person, or at least my tight budget cares little for it, but it was tasty stuff. When you read to the end, the coincidence will make sense:

The power of smart copywriting

Consider this riff from a professionaly printed freestanding sign in front of a Peet’s in San Jose:

“Unlike Any Coffee You’ve Ever Tasted Before.”

Wait. Why the capitals?

“Unlike any coffee you’ve ever tasted before.”

“Before” is redundant.

“Unlike any coffee you’ve ever tasted.”

Too negative. And why is “unlike” a positive trait? I mean, boiled leech guts is also unlike any coffee I’ve ever tasted, that doesn’t mean I want to drink it. How about:

“The best coffee you’ve ever tasted.”

Well, the thing is, the only coffee that matters is coffee I’ve tasted, right, so we could get shorter still:

“The best coffee.”

The problem with that is that it’s nothing but bragging. Of course you think it’s the best coffee. So what? You’re lying. And even if you’re not lying, how do you know it’s the best? Compared to what?

This is where the smart copywriter becomes a marketer.

“Better than Starbucks.”

Well, it’s still bragging. This is the moment where the marketer becomes a smart marketer and realizes that changing the offer or the product is more important than changing the hype.

“FREE TASTE TEST
Are we better than Starbucks?”

Invest $20 in espresso in little cups, and maybe, just maybe, your sign will make some magic.

Beyond copy…

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