“Hot Summer Savings” and Other Marketing Cliches

Do you know when it’s OK to be a cliche—and when it’s time to make an original move?

“Things are heating up” with some of our “hottest deals of the year” but you’ll have it “made in the shade” if you catch these summer savings before they “fall out of fashion.”

These are just a few of the refrains you’re likely to come across in sales pitches this season.

Obviously, a pun can tickle someone’s funny bone and leave them wanting more. A cute turn of phrase can snag a reader’s attention better than standard sales language. But imagine someone’s inbox, where all of their subject lines are grouped together and full of similar cliches. It can be total overkill—or, worse, make your email forgettable, when you’re ideally trying to stand apart.

Of course, it’s not always a bad thing to throw in the right cliche at the right time. They’re popular for a reason: Cliches can boil big concepts down to just a few words and typically conjure very relatable imagery. Plus, they can be understood quickly, at a glance—such as flipping through a magazine or scrolling through websites–because the mind already knows what to expect from a common refrain.

Other times, however, they can make an ad look lazy or even patronizing—which is the last thing you want after all of your hard work.

How do you tell the difference? It’s simply a matter of whether there’s a better way to say what you’re trying to say. Try these two rules:

1) If you examine any of the cliches you’re coming across, and can find a better way to say it that sounds more intriguing and just as effective, then switch it out.

2) If you consider alternatives and still like the original best, don’t take it out just because it might be considered a cliche. There’s room for all kinds of language in marketing copy, when used judiciously.

Here are some other marketing cliches to consider when you come across them in your copy:

  • Something is “just around the corner.”
  • “Here’s a blast from the past.”
  • “[Blank] is the new black.” (Also: “unique”—you know why.)
  • Something is “better than ever.” (Also: “first-ever” and “all-new.”)
  • “Once in a lifetime.” (Also: “exclusive”—use sparingly!)

Sound familiar? If you’re unsure that your marketing language is doing all that it should be to both relay information and intrigue your audience, we’d be happy to review your mission statement, ad copy, website text, or sales decks, as well as creative copy, like scripts for radio, TV, and the Web. We love wordplay and finding smart ways to bring big ideas to life.

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