Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is it negative?

I am blaming it on The Secret. Okay maybe not - but I must say that the idea of positive thinking (which I am all for, by the way) is really being taken advantage of or misunderstood of late.

In the past, there have been clients who ask us to go back and revise something we had created a while ago that they have already been using because it contained too much "negative language."

One even referenced the book and The Law of Attraction. I'm not saying that having a positive attitude is a bad thing. But I do think it's more of a concept than an absolute.

Then the topic came up just the other day in yet another client meeting on a current project, so this has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

As a copywriter, I strongly believe that sometimes it is more powerful to speak in the negative. Maybe I'm wrong, but let me share with you my thoughts on this topic.

Words like never, don't or won't can be potent triggers. They can connote a depth of conviction, in my opinion. I like to use them as a contrast to give the copy a twist or really pound home a point without pulling out the hammer.

"We'll never charge you for the same repair twice" is a more powerful statement than the same concept written in the positive.

"We don't do banker's hours" feels stronger than the statements "we have evening hours" or "we're open until 7".

"Our viscosity standards will never be compromised" is pretty tough to state in a positive way with as much conviction. Depending on your message, "negative" might not be so negative.

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