Yellow Paper And Pencil With Text

Keep it simple, stupid?

This may come as an utter shock to some of you, but I have a day job. I know, how can a guy who writes a whopping 1.7 blog posts per week and watches every episode of The Daily Show find the time to also keep a full-time job? It’s beyond the powers of the average man. Yet here we are.

So my company often launches these…campaigns, I guess you’d call them? These landing pages that tell our customers how awesome we are and how our products will change their lives forever and make them irresistible to the opposite sex and also zzzzzzzzzzz. The problem is: Most product managers are so excited about their products that they have a very difficult time cutting down the amount of words used to describe them. This is an issue, since online users have the attention span of a coke-addicted rabbit. You want them to know what your product can do for them, but you don’t want them to read an epic saga about the trials and tribulations the product has gone through to be born into this world.

Front View Red Car

And on the 374th day, he put the finishing touches on the magnificent paint job of his beloved creation, and…

Long story short, my team asked me to review some text from an external agency, to see if I could reduce the number of words while keeping the message intact. So I did.

(Necessary digression: Copywriting isn’t a part of my job description. I’m officially an online marketing specialist, which is a fancy title for someone who browses Facebook while pretending to do useful work on the company’s website.)

Then my copy suggestions were sent to the marketing team for review and final approval. And then our marketing team, for reasons that will forever remain unclear, ended up involving a third copywriter. And then the world went mad.

Allow me to offer a single example that best sums up these surreal transformations. Here’s a sentence from the agency’s original text:

[PRODUCT NAME] is your complete USB-connected UC manager enabling you to pick up calls and control volume to your preference.

A bit too many unnecessary letters, right? So here’s what I shortened it down to:

Pick up calls and change volume through a dedicated control box.

Pulitzer Prize–winning material? Nope. Does it get the point across? It sure does.

Or so I thought.

Apparently, the third copywriter thought it was a shame that we weren’t using every single word in the English language, so we have somehow ended up with this:

An intuitive in-line controller fitted with a USB-stick for greater productivity and convenience to pick up or end calls, control volume or mute.

Borat Meme

Is it just me, or is this…not…good? Those sure are some fancy words, but do we want our customers to understand the product, or do we want them to pass a technical literacy test?

But hey, maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe this is how smart marketeers are doing things these days. Keeping it simple is so last millennium! We want words! We want them all! So, inspired by this new discovery, I hereby provide a much needed update to popular company slogans. You’re welcome, market leaders:

Nike

Used to be:

Just do it.

New and improved:

Simply start to undertake a physical activity of your choosing in a speedy manner at this immediate moment in time.

McDonald’s

Used to be:

I’m lovin’ it

New and improved:

I find the nutritional characteristics and the palatableness of this meal to greatly exceed the expectations I have come to develop with regards to fast food establishments.

L’Oreal

Used to be:

Because you’re worth it.

New and improved:

You have been subjectively determined as being worthy of purchasing and owning an affordable line of our cosmetic products.

Those are a few to get you all started. With proper dedication and excessive verbosity, you too can write a tagline for your favorite company. Who wants to start?!