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Archive for April, 2007


April 6th, 2007 by Bob Bly

In the March 2007 issue of Training & Development magazine, the bio of one of the contributors reads as follows (full name not used to protect the innocent):

“CZ provides results-focused learning solutions aimed at providing employees with the essential skills that enable them to optimize their performance and achieve measurable business results.”

I don’t like the jargon (“learning solutions”) even though I have been doing training part-time for decades.

Also don’t like the fancy words (“optimize”) or lack of specifics (“essential skills” … WHAT skills?).

After reading CZ’s bio, I still have no idea what she really does.

I also conclude that she does not communicate very well — not a good sign for someone in the training industry — and that perhaps she is a bit of a stuffed shirt.

Do you agree that CZ’s bio is stiff and unfriendly?

Or do you think she is really speaking the reader’s langauge and getting them excited about her offering?

What specific edits can you suggest to CZ so she can rewrite the bio to make it stronger?


Category: General, Writing | 84 Comments »

Telemarketing Secrets from the Grave

April 5th, 2007 by Bob Bly

Just 10 seconds ago, I got a call from a telemarketer identifying himself as “Allen” from “the Garden of Memories.”

He was calling to tell me they are building new mausoleums and gauge my interest in a purchase.

Although I would not be put off by a cold call from a life insurance salesperson, I was by a cold call from a graveyard.

Not sure why: both are based on my eventual death. And both are services that people buy.

Yet I found Allen creepy.

Are certain offers and products OK in space advertising or direct mail, but taboo to you, as a consumer, in telemarketing?

Or do you hate all telemarketing calls equally?

I suggested to Allen that a newspaper ad would be a better way to drum up business, and even gave him the headline:


He was not amused.


Category: General | 44 Comments »

Google’s Contempt for Copyright

April 3rd, 2007 by Bob Bly

Google makes no secret of its contempt for copyright and intellectual property ownership — believing, as so many Netters do, that “information should be free.”

To which I say, “Bull*(#$%*!!!”

In February, Viacom asked Google-owned YouTube to remove more than 100,000 unauthorized video clips of copyrighted TV shows from its site.

When YouTube did not comply, Viacom filed suite against YouTube and Google for copyright infringement, seeking over $1 billon in damages … in a case that DM News (3/19/07, p. 1) says “may determine the future of content distribution over the Internet.”

Some argue that the exposure of the video clips on YouTube is good for Viacom, promoting their shows to a wider audience — and so Viacom should be happy that YouTube is giving them all this free exposure.

But they miss the point, and the point is this: the decision of whether to let someone reproduce or distribute copyrighted material lies solely with copyright holder.

To take someone else’s copyrighted music, video, article, or story — and distribute it online or elsewhere without their consent — is stealing, pure and simple.

Internet types love to talk about the importance of “permission-based marketing.”

How about “permission-based Internet publishing”?

That makes sense.



Category: General, Writing and the Internet | 27 Comments »

Generic Copywriting at Outback

April 2nd, 2007 by Bob Bly

For some time now, Outback has been running a radio campaign, “Let’s Go Outback Tonight.”

It’s a jingle followed by voice-over narration about the food.

The narrator invites the listener to come to outback where “the chicken is moist and tender” and “the steak is thick and juicy.”

Now, I’ve never done any food writing.

But is it just me, or is describing a steak as “thick and juicy” as about as pedestrian and cliche as you can get?

Let’s say you were writing this radio spot. Can you think of a more enticing way to describe your steaks than “thick and juicy”?

Or your chicken than “moist and tender”?

Or do you think those descriptions are perfectly valid — and strong enough to get you to want to eat at Outback tonight?


Category: General | 267 Comments »