Clichés are the stereotypes of the advertising world. They’re so common because they’re easy to write.
The thing is, a cliché doesn’t mean anything to anybody. Try replacing your business name with the name of your competitor. Does the commercial still make sense? It likely does, which means you have a weak message.
Here are seven of the most common advertising clichés. Along with each cliché, I’ve included reasons why you should avoid using these at all costs.
1.) For All Your ________Needs
I’ve heard every permutation of this one. For all your automotive needs. For all your home remodeling needs. For all your insurance needs. For all your health care needs.
The reason this cliché is so bad is because it’s so vague! Any business could use it and it would sound just fine. That makes for a bad radio ad.
2.) Friendly and Knowledgeable Staff!
You may just have a friendly and knowledgeable staff, but so does everyone else. That’s what your employees are supposed to do – be friendly and knowledgeable. This isn’t a way to differentiate yourself from your competition.
3.) Conveniently located at [full street address]
Most people don’t remember every detail from a radio ad, like a long street address. That’s the best reason not to use this cliché or any of its variants. Instead, give directions using landmarks in the community.
One of our advertisers did it like this: “We’re kitty-corner from Cashwise in the Copper Corte.”
It worked because they used a familiar landmark, Cashwise, a grocery store. And a unique word to describe their location in relation to it: kitty-corner.
The only time I’ve ever heard this used effectively was when the advertiser’s place of business was really hard to find. He made a joke about how inconveniently located he was, but if you took the time to make the trip, it would be worth your while.
That’s how to differentiate!
4.) Mention this ad for 10% off your purchase.
John Wanamaker once said, "Half my advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half." Ever since then, advertisers have been trying to test their advertising by turning it into a coupon.
When was the last time you visited a business just because their ad told you to mention it to get a discount?
People don’t remember every detail of an advertising message. Also, most people don’t like asking for a discount unless they have a printed coupon. Our society considers it rude, which is why we have printed coupons to do the asking for us.
5.) Fast and friendly service!
This is just like the friendly and knowledgeable staff cliché from above. Consumers have a basic set of expectations when they enter your business. Of those, is to be treated by you or your staff with respect, friendliness, and quick service. If you can’t do any of those basic things, you have bigger problems to address before you begin advertising.
6.) We won’t be undersold!
What if your competitor offered the same product for half your price? A price you can’t possibly beat. Even if you’re willing to lose money to not be undersold, this isn’t something to hang your hat on. It’s no way to differentiate yourself unless you truly do have the lowest price and can move tons of product.
There are far better ways to differentiate yourself. Before you decide to use price, make sure there isn’t a better way.
7.) The area’s best kept secret!
As soon as you include this phrase in your radio ad, the secret’s out. You’re not a secret anymore, thus negating ever having said it. It doesn’t actually mean anything, therefore, a waste of precious time.
8.) BONUS: Referring to Your Ad as an Ad
Just like number 4 above, when you're ad copy refers to itself as a "commercial" or an "ad" you've taken the listener out of the experience. Your ads should tell a story. As soon as your copy reference the fact that it's a commercial, listeners will snap out from story-time mode and into tune-out mode. Everyone loves hearing stories. Nobody likes listening to commercials.
Avoid Clichés in your Advertising
If you’re guilty of using any of the above, you should find a copywriter with radio advertising experience. In conjunction with your radio rep, they’ll help you craft effective, differentiating ideas and write scripts that will deliver results.