Exciting news!

Exciting. It’s the lazy marketer’s favourite word.

A quick search for this common hyperbole in my inbox returned the following examples of distinctly unexciting news and offers.

Think of them next time you’re tempted to draw on this overused, overblown adjective. If there’s a chance your reader won’t really be trembling in anticipation, choose a different word.

1. A networking lunch featuring as a guest speaker a “best-selling author of over 30 books covering a wide variety of beauty, health and lifestyle issues”.

I’m an introvert. I hate talking to strangers, let alone with the sole purpose of bigging up my business. So if by exciting, you meant excruciating, then your networking event is suitably billed.

However, I can think of nothing duller than listening to some halfwit blather on, over mediocre food, about “beauty, health and lifestyle issues”.

What is a “lifestyle issue” anyway?

2. Additions to the new exercise timetable at my local gym.

Exercise: the only thing I find more excruciating than networking (and duller than discussions of “lifestyle issues”).

3. A series of debates about “real food”.

Hmm. Not sure what’s meant by “real food”, but it sounds suspiciously like a “lifestyle issue” to me.

4. The news that an organisation had recently become “the proud winners of the Clean City Platinum Award!”.

Exciting to you. Possibly. If you were the one who wrote the award submission and you’re keen to impress your boss.

But utterly, utterly irrelevant to me. Oh, and, by the way, your use of the ellipsis in a bid to make your email sound even more “exciting…” won’t change my mind.

5. A job as deputy editor of Trucking magazine, which is “an opportunity to become part of a team that is passionate about the road transport industry”.

I suppose it’s just about possible I might one day be so desperate for work I’ll have to pretend I’m excited by the prospect of being second in command of group of slightly geekier, less successful Jeremy Clarksons.

6. The opportunity to work on a “brand new monthly dental journal”.

That’s more like it: a chance to use my writing skills to indulge my secret passion for researching the causes of gingivitis and tracking the latest developments in dental implant surgery.

At least, that’s what I’ll be saying in the interview if it means I don’t have to take the job with the sub-Jeremy Clarksons.

7. A new sofa made by someone you might have heard of if you’re vaguely interested in designer furniture.

Which I’m not.

8. The online community for a British tabloid newspaper.

Bigoted? Yes. Illiterate? Yes.

Exciting? Beyond raising my blood pressure a few points? Not really.

9. The news that I can upgrade my standard ticket to a premium ticket for just £10.

I’m so excited to have the chance to give you ten more of my hard-earned pounds.

10. The news that some company or other “will focus solely on its core business as the global leader” in something and that one bit of it has been “rebranded as a separate business”.

Core business blah blah global leader blah blah blah rebranding blah.

4 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Clare, When managing email campaigns, we always split test subject lines. We usually find that toned down, businesslike subject lines get better open rates than ones that are overblown. Exciting isn’t distinctive anymore. If everybody’s exciting, be mildly interesting – you’ll attract lots of attention.

  2. Clare Lynch says:

    Brad, that’s a very interesting point. Thanks for sharing it.

    It reminds me of when I used to write copy selling books. If we mentioned some negative aspect of a book, it always sold better than the books that had wholly glowing reviews. It’s all down to credibility.

  3. Cathy Cleary says:

    Good post, Clare! Your examples of “exciting” offers show how companies really are inwardly focused, rather than thinking about what might be important to their customers. The one about upgrading for an extra fee, actually made me laugh because I see it a lot and it irritates the heck out of me!

  4. Clare Lynch says:

    That’s it exactly, Cathy. The first rule of copywriting: understand your audience. These people are so self-involved, it makes me wonder what they must be like at parties.

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