Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A. New. Trend.

In this blog I complain a lot about clients, creative directors, and AEs. I’ve even take a swipe or two at art directors. But I tend to leave my own kind (copywriters) alone.

So to even things out, this post is all about lazy copywriters.

I have noticed a new trend in headlines. You may have seen it yourself. Instead of normal punctuation, every word is followed by a period. So the headline Looks. Like. This.

Now there can be a legitimate use for this style of writing. It could give a simple statement a sort of rhythmic, pizzicato feel. But I see it used so much that I think copywriters are using it to avoid writing headlines.

And I don’t mean award-winning, who cares what the image is because the words sing so well you could be looking at a picture of pig shit and still want the product, headlines. I mean simple, old-school headlines.

Let’s say our client has cut the product’s price in half. So you sit down, and a few beers later you have come up with, “All the features at half the price!”

Crap? You bet, but at least it is a coherent sentence. The lazy copywriter will quickly pound out, “Half. Price. Same. Product.”

Now I have two problems with this. First, it’s strategy as headline, which may work in Europe (see yesterday’s post) but not here. Second, if the punctuation is to be believed, you are supposed to read this sentence like this, Half…..Price….Same…..Product. (It’s as if you were reading the headline off a monitor as someone slowly typed it out.) I’m pretty sure that’s not the effect the writer was going for.

So if you were about to create a headline that has an equal number of words and periods, STOP! Because. I. Am. Tired. Of. Reading. Ads. That. Look. Like. This!


Joker said...

Well what if the headlines were female and got their period? Then you would be accused of discrimination and that my friend is. not. very. cool.

But I agree on your take. I have only used that style for taglines for products or brands ie.

Joker's Posts.

Dramatic. Poignant. Random. Douchenozzle.

or something of the sorts. I stray WAY away from headlines like that because I don't think it does what we do as a job any justice. Then again, maybe that's why I don't have little lions and gold pencils.

Oh well.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Totally. Agree. With.You. Run-on stops look ridiculous. Except. In. Telegrams. What are telegrams? Last millennium Twitter.

Joker said...

Last millennium twitter...... That begs a poster and t-shirt combo luv. ;)