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Bombastico ni Fantastico!

By Copywriting, Tone of voice, WritingNo Comments

You know that friend of yours, for whom everything was wicked, skill or lush… for whom even a slight upturn in immediate circumstances or atmospheric conditions was epic, awesome or occasionally mental? The one who would have an out-of-body experience at the smallest gift that everyday life can bring?


People that positive are great. But they don’t usually succeed in marketing because they’re exhausting, and you quickly learn to water them down or tune them out entirely. Also, there’s a very human response to such behaviour: to not take them too seriously on matters of merit or taste.

Yes, that’s my long-winded way of saying ‘gushing doesn’t persuade’. Superlatives don’t land well. The best thing ever, usually isn’t. I’ve missed out on so many great books, films, records, gigs, holiday destinations, restaurants and other valuable experiences simply because someone wouldn’t relent in telling me how unequivocally brilliant they were, and that my life would not be complete until I investigate. It’s human nature to resist such incursions.

The same applies to selling, whether it’s objects or concepts, lifestyles or reassurances. 

Besides outright cynicism and telling fibs, gushing is pretty high up in terms of what I really don’t understand (and really don’t like) about pushy, presumptuous marketing. To suggest that there’s a hole in my soul – or a fundamental existential flaw to my cosmic journey – because I haven’t yet parted with cash to secure a transformative, transcendental experience – is never going to persuade me. I resist it, to the very core of what little soul I have. And as far as I can tell, I’m not alone.

‘Ah, George, you FOOL!’, I hear you scream. ‘You’re in denial! The seed is sown, and you will invest!’ Well, if that’s marketing, I don’t want to be complicit, and I’ve avoided or flatly turned down most opportunities to become so. I can’t lie. I can’t gush as part of my persuasive prose, even if I really believe in what I’m hawking at any given time; mostly because I judge my writing on how I’d react to it, being the cynical git that I am.

And I think that’s healthy, if I’m honest.

So, what am I actually saying here?

Well, this:

Don’t fall over yourself to persuade with your words. Simply inform, in a calm, human, relatable and faintly enthusiastic fashion. People react far more positively to a non-pushy, informative and insightful conveyance of genuinely good reasons to find out more. Not necessarily to buy, just yet, but to be given the space to consider your modest pitch.

The more you leave people to make their own minds up, in their own time, the more likely you are to win them over.

That’s what I meant by bombastico ni fantastico.

And yes, I know it’s linguistically inaccurate.

AI copy – what do I think?

By Copywriting, Tone of voice, WritingNo Comments

I’ve dedicated 16 years of my adult life to becoming a better writer – of course I give a monkey’s about what AI might mean to my livelihood. A very large monkey’s, in fact.


With one eye closed, my mouse hovering over the ‘close window’ button, and knowing I’ve enough fuel in the van to reach the coast, I’ve explored a few articles on the matter. So far, I’m still sitting here. So far, I’m not overly frightened. But equally, I’m not daft or dismissive enough to ignore AI’s potential to transform how, collectively, we go about our business of persuasive written communication.

Read More

Let me be clear…

By Copywriting, Editing, WritingNo Comments

I’ve been reading ‘Do I Make Myself Clear’- Why Writing Well Matters’ by (Sir) Harold Evans (28 June 1928 – 23 September 2020). In some ways I wish I’d read it earlier in my career as a copywriter, but I think it might have been too much to take in while relatively green. Now, it’s more of an acerbic, witty reassurance that my internal dialogue when reading or editing godawful guff isn’t just grumpiness – and that my instinct is dependable.

He also reminds me that there’s a time and a place to be right about this: always and everywhere. But not necessarily out loud. Read More

I was not fed the cat

By Uncategorized, WritingNo Comments

So it seems we’ve lost the war against ‘I was sat’.

And ‘I was stood’.

And others.

Sadly, these simple and needless atrocities feature daily in my conversations, and in my consumption of media. I’m not being a pedantic git – at least I don’t think I am. I genuinely think it’s a real shame, because it sounds daft and lazy. And that’s not what you want. At least I hope it isn’t.

Yet every day I hear it. And see it. For whatever reason, it’s common parlance. Even among those I know have a better grasp of the language.

Something stole our grasp of past participles.  

In remembrance, here’s how they once went:

I sit; I am sitting. I sat; I was sitting.

I stand; I am standing. I stood; I was standing.

I was NOT sat.

I was NOT stood.

Nor was I ate a cake. Nor was I listened to music. Nor was I brushed my hair.

I was not fed the cat.


Yeah, it’s that simple. It’s probably too late, but if you feel like fighting the decline honourably, please do.

Or if you do it, and have a valid explanation or excuse, let’s hear it:

Write for one person

By Copywriting, TOV, WritingNo Comments

Of course, to write effectively on a business’ behalf, you need to know your audience. You need at least an overview of what matters to them, the problems you can solve for them, what makes them happy, and so on. And you need to be able to distinguish your brand from all the others vying for the same audience’s attention.


But here’s the thing… Read More

Jargon is exclusive

By Copywriting, WritingNo Comments

But not in a good way…

People often adopt and use jargon to impress others. It doesn’t. Unless you’re in a profession where the language you use describes something specific and precise – and where it is crucial to the context – all you’re doing is showing that you’re not quite sure of yourself, or your message. Read More