The wording of the storefront sign in downtown Manhattan was so transparent it was jarring. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, and it occurred to me that pitch writing would benefit from the same surprisingly honest approach.
My family just completed a 17-day tour up the East Coast from Williamsburg to Boston guided by, of all things, the musical “Hamilton.” My four tweens-and-teens are obsessed with that show, have the soundtrack memorized, and have read a book about its production.
So when we got to the NYC area, of course, we had to hit such atypical sites as the dueling grounds where Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton and his grave outside Trinity Church near Wall Street.
While the kids were looking at his tombstone, my eyes wandered to the permanent sign outside the shoe store across the street:
(If there’s a problem with the image, it says, “We are probably the lowest priced in the city.”)
In the midst of being bludgeoned by thousands of hyperbolic ads on cabs, buses, bus stops, and more, the honesty was more than refreshing – it was captivating. My mind raced – “Do they have really strict lawyers who wouldn’t let them say ‘lowest prices in the city?’ Or are the owners just old-fashioned? Or are the marketing people doing it on purpose to be ‘authentic?’”
Regardless, at least for me, it worked. Are you the same way? When you encounter direct, forthright communication, does it stand out from the deluge of overly promotional wording?
Most journalists and bloggers are cut from this cloth. Think of it – all day they open emails that say, “New users are flocking to our best-in-class UX and raving about their delight on social media.”
What if yours was the email that said, “Our site just launched, so there’s no way we can compete – yet – with the user experience of sites with more resources like AirBnB or VRBO. But the one way we are different – which is why users are trying us out anyway – is our . . .”
I know, your initial reaction is that your marketing people might have a fit. But maybe they’re so sick of fake promotional language, they’ll hear you out and sign off on an experiment.
If you want to get noticed, go against the grain.
And next time you’re in downtown Manhattan, you now know where to get your shoes :).
On a recent East Coast trip with my family, I saw a sign on a downtown Manhattan store that was so transparent it was jarring. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, and it occurred to me that pitch writing would benefit from the same surprisingly honest approach.