The dreaded letter matrix

Er... some mistake?

Whenever I’m writing a mailshot, whether it be for an email or for traditional paper-folding direct mail, I do try and remember that this is a personal one-to-one communication medium, delivered to the recipient’s own door or inbox. And I try my best to write with empathy for the recipient.

Of course, we are ‘targeting sectors’ according to a handful of vaguely known facts such as their buying habits or their tick box responses to past communications. This information is often recorded in one of the account man’s favourite tools – the dreaded letter matrix. Continue reading

Weasel Word of the Week

This week’s word: Lighter

leggeraLeggera. Now, what could this be all about? Have the food science boffins at Pizza Express invented a remarkable new lighter kind of dough that somehow has fewer calories yet retains the same delicious taste? Not exactly. Instead they have hit on the idea of cutting a big hole out of the middle of your pizza, then camouflaging it on your plate by brushing some salad leaves over it so you don’t see what’s missing. It reminds me of a jungle man-trap from a Tarzan movie. Your knife and fork mysteriously disapper into the vegetation and when you rake around for some solid ground, there’s nothing there. Continue reading

Faulty logic

Listening to the radio this morning and a man was praising something, but instead of saying “I can’t fault it”, he came out with “I can’t fault it enough”.

He was trying just a bit too hard to get his point over, and ended up saying the opposite.

This happens all the time in advertising. It’s easy to convey exactly the opposite of what you set out to do. And I don’t mean the restaurant sign that says “If you think our waiters are rude, you should see the manager.” Continue reading


A good friend drew my attention to this bus advertising creative competition from CBS Outdoor and asked me if I would consider voting for the prostate cancer charity ad. It’s a good ad, it’s a very good cause and I am more than happy to vote for it. If it runs I just hope the brand guidelines permit them to make the typography more eye catching as for me, it’s getting a bit lost . Continue reading

Weasel word of the week

This week’s word: Extra.

starburstWhich is the better offer: 25% free or 25% extra free?

‘Extra’ sounds tempting, doesn’t it – but it’s there to rob you. Let’s say it’s a cake. Adding in the word ‘extra’ means the percentage quoted refers not to the cake in front of you, that you might buy, but to a smaller cake that’s probably not on sale in the same store, that you can’t buy. Continue reading

Why don’t spammers employ proofreaders?

faggedA  well-crafted piece of spam is an absolute joy to receive. So why do so many spammers cut corners and do without the services of a qualified proofreader? Somebody should give them the contact email for NABS. But I expect they have it already.

And here perhaps is the answer : The 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference, full of tips for improving your spam offering.

Weasel word of the week

Every week I’ll be introducing a different weasel word: one which in advertising copy has a slightly different interpretation, and I’ll be giving you its true definition.

This week’s word: Promise

This is what you say when you want to imply ‘guarantee’, but the legal department is all over you like a swarm of blackfly if you so dare. For example: Price promise. “Our prices are the cheapest on the high street. That’s our promise to you.” Continue reading