There are many words and common phrases that have become so over used that they have ultimately lost any real meaning.
In an attempt to try and communicate, in a simplistic way, politicians, the public service and big business have coined a plethora of glib expressions. These are tirelessly repeated in an attempt to get the point across.
Then there’s Julia Gillard’s ‘Moving forward’
Tony Abbott’s ‘Great big new tax’ that has now become ‘Toxic tax’
These originally had meaning and were valuable verbal shorthand that simply expressed a more complex thought.
But that meaning has been lost by over use.
The same has happened in advertising.
If you read ad headlines or even get as far as the body copy you will find a lot of sameness.
Many copywriters are slavishly using well-worn expressions to sell an idea, rather than look for a more original and memorable set of words.
I spied an ad for a mobile phone the other day that proudly boasted the headline: ‘Prepare to be awesome’
Since when has a phone made the user awesome?
The Great Wall of China, The Barrier Reef even Attila the Hun, all inspire awe, not a mobile phone.
In 1875 Alexander Graham Bell might have inspired awe with the invention of the first telephone, but not today.
Retail advertising is the worst offender.
They are using and re-using hackneyed phrases that once, way back then, might have convinced the consumer that they were getting a bargain.
Now their luster has worn off.
Once in a lifetime opportunity
Never to be repeated
Closing Down Sale
Peace of mind
Get the edge
What’s stopping you?
The last one is probably the most telling as I think it’s the clichés themselves that may be the biggest hindrance to sales.
They are just a wallpaper of words that the punter sees, but doesn’t read, let alone respond to.
They have been made impotent by over and inappropriate use.