Your Copy Sucks: your words will go down in history

Here’s a bold statement that I’m sure I’ll be forced to prove somewhere around the end of this post: the things we write when we flack, market, and rep products can change the course of history.

I’ll let that stew in your brain-soup for just a moment while I take what must seem like a sharp right turn in this argument.

I want you to think about makeup, and what makeup is all about. I’m not anti-makeup. I wear it just like any other businesswoman does. Without foundation, powder, eyeliner, eye shadow, lip liner, lipstick, mascara, and eyebrow pencils, our faces do not look very pretty. We have blemishes and freckles and age spots and wrinkles. We have sallow eyes and pale lips and bushy eyebrows and ingrown hairs.

Without makeup, we are ugly. Makeup makes up for these deficiencies.

And yet, we are told that it makes us appear natural.  How natural are purple eyelids? In what universe can we find that sort of thing?

How can health be the same thing as beauty?

Don’t get me wrong; I dig Opposite Day wordplay. It takes real skill to cast something in that light. After all, isn’t it natural to wear the same chemicals on your face that everyone else wears? Isn’t it true that all women need a little powder? Isn’t it only healthy to engage in the same cultural practices that generations of women have?

Think of all the things that people started doing only 100 years ago: flossing, shaving their legs, using mouthwash. Personal hygiene aside, what about the other sweeping social changes? “Friends don’t let friends.” “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” “Only you can prevent forest fires.” These are words that formed the tip of a scythe that cut a new path in history.

As PR people, we all hope to be involved in that next Must-Have Thing. We hope to god we’re the one that writes that perfect line of copy for a campaign for What Everyone Needs. I know that sometimes we have very little control over who our clients are and what we have to flack for, but here’s a quick reminder:

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Be careful what you write, because it may come true.

[All opinions expressed herein are that of the individual author, not those of the PRBC as a whole, or other contributors/writers.]

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