Peter Wise
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Advertising cliches

Copywriting – The Top Ten Clichés and Why You Should Avoid Them

We’ve all seen them plenty of times. Frankly, once is too many. Copy clichés are more likely to put off prospective customers than convince them to buy your product or service. If your advertising copywriter comes up with them, find another advertising copywriter. Here are the worst offenders in the UK – and the reasons why you should never use them.

Expect the unexpected – This is number one on the list for a reason. It’s the advertising cliché you’re most likely to be subjected to and, ironically, it disproves what it’s actually saying. Think about it. You’ve seen it so many times, you just know what to expect when you see a phrase like this. Something everyday, so-so and…expected.

The best just got better – Are you (and the Advertising Standards Authority) quite sure about that? And what happens when that which got better gets even better?

Tomorrow’s xxxxx today – Just about acceptable when first coined, but soon devalued by overuse – and the realisation that the accuracy of predictions isn’t what it used to be.

A once in a lifetime opportunity – Precisely how many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities can one person have?

The best kept secret in… – Then why are you advertising it to all and sundry?

The Rolls Royce of… – At one point this was so common (and misplaced) that Rolls Royce started to sue companies for making the comparison. Nowadays, it just sounds ridiculous.

Thinking outside the box – A popular entrant in the last few years that has become almost omnipresent. Likely to show a writer who thinks very much inside the box – and who should be locked up in one.

Our people are our most important assets – There was once a Dilbert cartoon about this one. Turned out that people were actually about fifth. Just below paperclips. Seriously, though, far too many companies use the phrase to play lip service to the concept.

Let us help take you into the 21st century – The successor to ‘let us help take you into the 20th century’, a cliché used almost until the champagne was being poured to celebrate the new millennium. And nearly as meaningless as its predecessor.

Open the door to success – The door you can actually hear is the one banging shut as the prospective but bored customer makes a smart exit.

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