“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”

Did you know that Saturday is “Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day”?

It’s every Dec. 18th – check out #AnswerthePhoneLikeBuddytheElfDay for some holiday mirth.

Once I learned about this, I just had to find a way to use this “holiday” as a time element for my newsletter. And it wasn’t even that hard.

Because Elf contains a scene that is one of Hollywood’s greatest gifts to the hard-working PR pro.

You know the part where Buddy gets excited about the random coffee shop called “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”? Watch it again, all 19 seconds of it.

It’s funny, but why? They say they’re the world’s best – why wouldn’t that be amazing and worth jumping up and down about? Because it’s obviously just a hollow marketing claim, and even my kids get that joke.

So why are we issuing news releases that tout our organizations as “the leading provider of . . .” or “the leading solution” or any other unverified claim?

Or sending pitches with empty phrases like “unparalleled luxury” or “world renowned”?

Nothing wrong with making those assertions – if they’re true.

If your marketing team is wedded to language like this, show them the clip from Elf. Have a little discussion about what the satire is pointing out. And then propose this instead:

Include the actual facts, not the claims.

Like, instead of “leading provider of MRI machines . . .,” write “We sell more MRI machines than any other company.”

Or, instead of “world-renowned textiles,” write “Our website visitors come from 149 countries.”

If you get pushback from clients (external or internal) about excluding hollow marketing claims, just ask them, “Okay, how do we know that?” And include the proof point along with the claim.

That way we avoid having journalists and social media observers laugh at our messaging as hard as you and I laugh at Buddy the Elf.

HEADS-UP: If you’ve got funds sitting in your professional development budget, don’t let them get lost at year end. . . Check out my online pitching and PR writing courses. You get access for a full year, so you can purchase one or both now and then take the courses later in 2022.

This article was originally published on December 15, 2021

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