More Sloppy Copy

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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115 thoughts on “More Sloppy Copy

  • 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.

  • 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’.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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”? 🙂

  • I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own site now 😉

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