Do Typos Matter?

A local gym recently mailed a postcard to attract new members. It features a stock color photo of an attractive woman working out, with some brief copy, the closing of which read: “Call today. Summer is comming.” When I pointed out to the owner that “coming” is spelled with one m, he shrugged it off.

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The World’s Worst Wine Writer?

In USA Today (2/23/07), wine writer Jerry Shriver recommends a 2005 Barton & Guestier “Bistro Wine” Pinot Noir. He says: “The fruit is restrained, the texture is soft, and there’s a smidgen of that ethereal ‘Sideways’ character lurking in the bottle.” Now, is it just me, or is this an example of terrible writing? To

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Yours Free — My Gift to You!

Alan Shawn Feinstein, one of the deans of mail order in the pre-Internet era, once ran a full-page ad in the New York Times with the headline: “Yours Free — My Gift to You.” But JW, a subscriber to my e-zine The Direct Response Letter, thinks “free gifts” is bad writing. “Free gifts … is

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Is the Pope Gay?

Just got a direct mail package selling subscriptions to Out magazine, which seems to be for gays. One of the headlines reads: “Is the Pope Gay?” My first reaction: this is really inappropriate and offensive. I mean, unless they have an investigative report proving that the Pope is gay, it’s totally speculation … and maybe

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Questioning the Quiznos Guarantee

A TV commercial for Quiznos says that if you do not like the sandwich they serve you, they will give you another sandwich free. Picture walking into a sub shop. You order a sandwich. You really don’t like it. In fact, you gag on it. Do you really want them to give you a second

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Should Every Marketer Read the National Enquirer?

In today’s issue of AWAI’s e-newsletter, The Golden Thread, my friend Will Newman wrote an article on how to be a better copywriter. One of Will’s pieces of advice was to read the National Enquirer. This is old advice for copywriters: Milt Pierce, from whom I took a copywriting class in 1983, told us: “Read

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Can a Copywriter be Too Enthusiastic?

When you write copy for a product, do you do a better job if you are a true believer in the product … or a cynical skeptic? It’s been said that the copywriter must be enthusiastic, because enthusiasm for a product — or its lack — is transmitted in the writing. On the other hand,

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