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More Sloppy Copy

November 27th, 2007 by Bob Bly

Yet another example of a copywriter not choosing words carefully is the radio commercial I heard today for PC Richards, a local electronics retailer.

The offer promoted in this commercial is free high-definition (HD) channels on I/O cable when you buy a new HDTV from PC Richards.

The copy suggests that with the money you save getting free cable, “you can spend a little more on a TV.”

We get what they mean, but somehow, it came out wrong. What consumer buying a TV wants to spend more money on it?

My rewrite: “With the money you save getting free cable, you’ll be able to afford the TV you really want — even that new wide-screen for watching the game this Sunday.”

What do you think of my rewrite — better, worse, or neutral?

Do you agree that the original “you can spend more” missed the mark?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 at 9:13 am and is filed under Advertising, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

55 responses about “More Sloppy Copy”

  1. Justin Premick said:

    Agreed. The way they say it makes it sound to me like they’re saying ALL their TVs cost “a little more.”

    Your rewrite suggests to me that better TVs are pricier everywhere/elsewhere, rather than just at PC Richards. Plus it reminds people why they want to get a new TV in the first place.

  2. Michael said:

    I like that rewrite better. I only have a 13″ television, so when I tell people I spent the evening “watching a little TV,” I’m not kiddin’.

  3. Jodi Kaplan said:

    Bob, yours is better. The offer, however, is misleading. Every I/O subscriber gets free HD channels, regardless of whether they bought their TV from PC Richards.

  4. Ken said:

    I do like your rewrite better.
    If everything in life is based on perception, and a company creates the perception that their product costs ‘a little more,’ it isn’t going to lead to more sales.

  5. Dave Coyne said:

    Bob, I like your version better. Your blog entry reminded me of the old Curtis Mathes TV commercial — the slogan was…

    “The most expensive television set in America – and darn well worth it”.

    Apparently not enough for the consumer. The company is no longer in business.

  6. Scott P. DeMenter said:

    You’re right, as usual, Bob.

    In fact, we could take this rewrite one step further by saying, “With the money you save getting free cable, you’ll be able to afford that open heart surgery you’ll surely need as your fat arse languishes in front of a new HDTV from PC Richards!”

    Perfect.

  7. Dean Rieck said:

    One other thing to keep in mind is that radio ads are short — 30 or 60 seconds. And a good chunk of that is needed for the call to action.

    Radio writing requires economical copy. Strunk and White on a diet. I’ve done a ton of radio ads and it’s always a heartbreaking series of ruthless edits to time them right. Rushing kills ads.

    Another interesting and totally un-PC fact: male voices frequently work better than female voices. I’m working on some ad tests now and a script using a male voice is outperforming the same script with a female voice by a factor of two or three.

  8. Sally Smith said:

    I agree with your rewrite. Nicely put. A software that I found that has helped when rephrase things better is Glyphius. Has anyone else used this software program? It shaves my writing time in half and gives me the best possible words to use.

  9. Bob Bly said:

    Sally: can you put PC Richards original copy in Glyphius and let us know what it comes up with?

  10. Abdul Rahman said:

    Well Bob, I just pasted your sentence and compare it with PC Richard’s ad and here’s what I’ve got:

    Yours:
    “With the money you save getting free cable, you’ll be able to afford the TV you really want — even that new wide-screen for watching the game this Sunday.” – Score: 89

    PC Richard’s:
    “you can spend a little more on a TV.” – Score: 162

    I don’t rely on this software too much but if you want to try this software yourself, just buy it from http://glyphius.com/

    I’ve got compilation of headlines that work very well but some of them get very little score in Glyphius.

    Some examples:

    Again She Orders…’A Chicken Salad Please’ – Score: 36

    An Open Letter To Everyone Who Drives A Truck On More Than $10,000 Per Year – Score: 37

    Here some examples of working and scored high in Glyphius:

    Are your headlines missing these psychological trigger? – Score: 195 (Written by Sean D’ Souza)

    (Below is an extremely long headline)

    If You Want to Lose 15 Pounds in The Next 30 Days, Mark’s Health Club Can Quickly and Easily Do It For You In Just 30 Minutes A Day, 2 Times A Week, 100% Guaranteed For Only $35 – But Only If You Come On-Board Before March 17th!

    (This long headline gets 316 in Glyphius!)

    So, don’t really trust this software too much but it does work — most of the time and yes, I saved my time using this one.

  11. Copywriting.com said:

    Your re-write is WAY better. I can’t believe how some advertisers rush their messages out that way in the hopes of getting the sale…

  12. A.S said:

    Are you all of 16 years old to write a post as this??!! You showboat!!!

  13. Bob Bly said:

    AS: What is your point? Mine is that professional copywriters, who should use words with great care, are frequently sloppy, and no one catches their errors. But I don’t understand what point you are trying to make.

  14. Michael said:

    I don’t get AS’s point, either. 1) I don’t see how the age 16 relates to anything, and 2) what’s a showboat?

  15. Rajeev said:

    Hi

    I have heard a lot about James Brausch and his Glyphius copywriting software. What he says is that glyphius has got a database of the best headlines produced in history built in, and then it compares your headline thus coming with a score.

    According to general reviews on the web it really works, but my point is that we can easily test headlines before marketing them so why dont they do it before putting out in the media.

    Rajeev

  16. Abdul Rahman said:

    AS, your comment is by far the worst I have seen in this blog. Great.

  17. Lee Webb said:

    I see that a couple of you mention the software Glyphius. Have you used it? Do you really find it to be valuable? I was going to ask about it, and then as I started reading comments, I see that a couple of the posters mentioned it. I don’t think I’m a horrible writer, but do you think Glyphius will give me an edge? Thanks! -Lee

  18. Kevin said:

    Agreed. The excellent rewrite clarifies the emotional benefit to the consumer and also creates a vivid mental image that may motivate him or her to make the purchase.

  19. Simon Smith said:

    Yes I agree your rewrite is much better, buying content can be awkward because language is a very personal thing. I’d use glyphius to research both articles, may be interesting!

  20. Jim Furr said:

    Hi,

    It is very difficult to purchase Glyphius.

    The only person I know of that offers it is Ryan Healy at:

    http://www.ryanhealy.com/

    About the 5th post down the page.

    Glyphius – Only 5 Copies Left
    January 7, 2008 – 9:16 am

    (Say, anybody got software that will allow you to rdit a blog post after hitting “Submit”? 🙂

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  22. Ireish Williams said:

    You’re right, as usual, Bob.

    In fact, we could take this rewrite one step further by saying, “With the money you save getting free cable, you’ll be able to afford that open heart surgery you’ll surely need as your fat arse languishes in front of a new HDTV from PC Richards!”
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    Perfect.

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