‘Hype’ is now an often used slang word which is short for ‘Hyperbole’, pronounced ‘Hy – per – bul – ee’, with the accent on the ‘per’ (not ‘hyperbole’ as in ‘super- bowl’).
The dictionary definition of hyperbole is: Poetic or rhetorical overstatement; exaggeration’, but it has now taken on a definite negative meaning, especially when used in marketing and advertising.
Let’s face, consumers in today’s 21st century western world are ‘advertised’ nearly to death. The average person is exposed to hundreds of advertising and marketing messages every single day. If they responded to them all, they would have little time for anything else. And, today, more than ever before, time is money.
Like the ‘boy who cried wolf’ today’s consumers have developed an aligator-like skin to protect them from this bombardment of product and service claims. They literally tune out to protect themselves from advertising that ‘yells and screams’ for their attention.
It’s become like a bizarre competition, with advertisers seeking to attract attention by becoming more and more outrageous, in the vain hope that they will cut through the clutter of competition. The internet equivalent to this is when people use CAPITALS IN THEIR HEADLINES AND ADS; they are screaming in your ear via the computer terminal.
Like their real-world counterparts, web advertisers who adopt this tactic often suffer from the exact opposite response to that they are seeking. People just switch off and ignore their message. Rather than ‘cutting through the competitive flak’, email, web page, Blog or newsletter ads that ‘yell’ with CAPITAL LETTERS, are very likely to be totally ignored. That’s my response, anyway.
And, advertisers who make ridiculous claims like ‘Do Nothing and Earn $100,000 in One Week’ should be treated with the contempt they deserve. Such claims only serve to insult peoples’ intelligence and reflect poorly on those making them.
I believe the success key today is to be polite; to be calm and rational. Rather than ‘Hype-ing’ your message, try instead to carefully highlight the specific benefits your product, service or subscription brings to people who use them. One way to highlight your message, without screaming, is simply to bold the key words you want emphasized. This is much more civilized that CAPITALISING them, and much easier for readers to digest.
As it says in ‘Desiderata’ (written by an anonymous author in the 17th Century and famously found in ST Paul’sChurch, Baltimore, dated 1692) ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste & remember what peace there may be in silence’…It goes on later to say; ‘Avoid loud and aggressive persons, because they are vexations to the spirit’.
Yes, the irony is that there’s very good advice for people in the 21st century about how properly to use the internet, on the wall of a church build more than 300 years ago.
So, don’t go about your web marketing by ‘vexing peoples’ spirit’, instead ‘go quietly’ and I willing to bet that your internet profits will increase.
Ross Storey is a completely bald (it’s fashionable), 52-year-old public relations and marketing consultant who has been involved in web marketing and design for more than a decade. He is a newspaper-trainer journalist and freelance writer who has been widely published in his 30-year career.
(Copyright © 2005 Ross Storey - Please feel free to publish this article, so long as you keep this resource section complete)