December 14th, 2007 by Bob Bly
If I were the Bad Copy Police, I’d have to write a ticket to the local BMW dealer whose radio commercial I heard today.
The spot, announcing a sale on preowned BMWs, said the dealership was “making an offer even a Dickensian miser couldn’t resist.”
Huh? A “Dickensian miser”?
You and I know the copywriter is referring to Ebeneazor Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
But many listeners will hear the phrase “Dickensian miser” and think: “What does THAT mean?”
And the point will be lost.
My rewrite: “making an offer even Ebeneazor Scrooge couldn’t resist.”
Even better: have a character identify himself as Scrooge and say he is rushing down to the dealer because even he can’t resist the offer.
Why on Earth would the copywriter use such a bloated, pretentious, intellectual phrase in a car commercial?
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