Please if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the love of mankind.

1. Saying “w w w dot … .” Do you really need to say this anymore? First of all you don’t need to type in www to find a web address and second if someone doesn’t understand how to navigate the internet they certainly aren’t buying whatever it is you’re hocking online.

2. Printing “www. …” in your print ads. See #1 above.

3. Saying “… and more.” This is a tried and true commercial hook and frankly it’s a lot of effort for me to delete that sentence and re-write it. But, it’s worn out so try something new. I am and more!

4. Using the definition of the word as the opening, such as “if you look in the dictionary the definition of integrity is … .” Please stop.

5. Using dialogue between two people that would not happen in real life. It goes something like this:

John: Hi Jane, how are you? 

Jane: Oh, my car broke down so I called ABC Auto on the corner of Shaw and Blackstone. They towed my car for free as part of their Customer Service Appreciation Month.

John: I have heard of ABC Auto. They have great prices and their number is 559-444-8888. You can call them from 8am to 6pm weekdays. 

Jane: That’s right and their friendly and knowledgeable staff was really helpful … 

My steering wheel has taken too many punches to the neck when these commercials come on. Here’s what you do. First, only use copy that someone would really say. If you can’t do that, then don’t try to force it. Second, move all of the other copy to an announcer and let the announcer do the heavy lifting. Let’s try this again:

John: Hi Jane, how are you? 

Jane: I’m pulling my hair out, my car broke down.

John: Do you need a ride?

Jane: No, I’m good. I called ABC Auto and they’re taking me to work. 

John: That’s cool.

Jane: Yeah, I’ve been going their for years. My kids played soccer with the owner’s kids. His dad started the business … good family and I trust them. 

Now transition to an announcer to fill in the blanks of the story. You have multiple angles to use including referral, customer service, community, family owned and integrity.

6. The little clip art scissors in your print ads that apparently tell people to cut out the coupon. No kidding. Think mobile coupons.

7. Using “so” to open you sentences, “Right?” and “Really?” In fact everyone, including me, needs to stop doing this.

8. Using the word “needs.” “We can solve your carpet needs” or “we can help you with your banking needs.” I was at a restaurant last week and the headline in the appetizer section said “everything for your appetizer needs.” I have needs, but I never have said to someone “do you know of a place that can help me with my carpet needs?” Little shout out to Paul Swearengin who pointed this out to me 8 years ago. I has drove me nuts ever since.

9. Using kids in your commercials. I have only seen one that I have liked and it was the Crazy Bernie commercial. Most of the time this strategy fails.

10. Using “Got (whatever)?” Got Lawyer? Got Football? Got Botox? Praise the Lord that after more than 20 years The CA Milk Processor Board dropped this campaign. The campaign for drinking milk was hugely successful and had great creative but it became a crutch for everyone else and super annoying.

I’m being sarcastic with this list and frankly I have violated most of these rules at least once, and hopefully not twice. Except #10! Never. Ever. Ever. But there is an important message here. People love to buy and shop, but they hate commercials. Why is that? You would think that someone who loved to buy and shop would love commercials. Doesn’t that make sense? Your commercials are feeding their desire to satisfy their needs and more! It really should be that easy, but alas businesses don’t under why their customers buy. They don’t have a Marketing Position that gives their message structure. People response to commercials that are real, genuine and benefit the listener. In most cases you don’t have to be overly creative to get your message across. You need a relevant message with a position and a value proposition, but that’s a whole other blog.