AABP Award 728x90

Sometimes say ‘never’


.floatimg-left-hort { float:left; } .floatimg-left-caption-hort { float:left; margin-bottom:10px; width:300px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;} .floatimg-left-vert { float:left; margin-top:10px; margin-right:15px; width:200px;} .floatimg-left-caption-vert { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; font-size: 12px; width:200px;} .floatimg-right-hort { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 300px;} .floatimg-right-caption-hort { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 300px; font-size: 12px; } .floatimg-right-vert { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px;} .floatimg-right-caption-vert { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px; font-size: 12px; } .floatimgright-sidebar { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px; border-top-style: double; border-top-color: black; border-bottom-style: double; border-bottom-color: black;} .floatimgright-sidebar p { line-height: 115%; text-indent: 10px; } .floatimgright-sidebar h4 { font-variant:small-caps; } .pullquote { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 150px; background: url(http://www.dmbusinessdaily.com/DAILY/editorial/extras/closequote.gif) no-repeat bottom right !important ; line-height: 150%; font-size: 125%; border-top: 1px solid; border-bottom: 1px solid;} .floatvidleft { float:left; margin-bottom:10px; width:325px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;} .floatvidright { float:right; margin-bottom:10px; width:325px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;}
I am blaming it on “The Secret.” OK, maybe not … but the idea of positive thinking (which I am all for, by the way) is really being taken advantage of or perhaps misunderstood of late.

In the last few months, two clients have asked us to go back and revise something that we had created a while ago and they had already been using, because it contained “negative language.”

One even referenced “The Secret” and another popular book, “The Law of Attraction.” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the law of attraction. I agree with it. But I also think it’s more of a concept than an absolute.

Then the topic came up just the other day in yet another client meeting on a current project. So this has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

As a copywriter, I strongly believe that sometimes it is more powerful to speak in the negative. Maybe I’m wrong. Let me share with you my thoughts, and then I’d like to listen to yours.

Words like “never,” “don’t” and “won’t” can be potent triggers. They can connote a depth of conviction, in my opinion. I like to use them as a contrast. To give the copy a twist or really pound home a point without pulling out the hammer.

“We’ll never charge you for the same repair twice” is a more powerful statement than the same concept written in the positive.

“We don’t do banker’s hours” feels stronger than “We have evening hours” or “We’re open until 7.”

“Our viscosity standards will never be compromised” is pretty tough to state in a positive way with as much conviction.

Or am I wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts about using negative language in copy and taglines.

Drew McLellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and blogs at www.drewsmarketingminute.com. He can be reached at Drew@MclellanMarketing.com. © 2009 Drew McLellan

fhbl brd 080123 300x250