learn the lingo 2


Welcome to another excerpt of Write with Balls,  our creativity session fresh from the television marketing conference of  Promax/BDA.  And thanks to our fans for their cheerful prompting.

We’ve talked about fresh, conversational writing (learn the lingo 1).

Now let’s talk the flip side: clichés.


When you write for TV, clichés lurk under every ad.

Clichés are safe, familiar grooves for our brains. Trouble is, they’re so comfortable they become invisible. Death for getting your ad noticed.

We say, clichés: if you can’t beat them, beat them up. Give them a twist. Apply them in unexpected ways.  Make your audience wake up and go “Huh?” and then smile.

Here’s a great, snarky example from Animal Planet.

Short and funny; Animal Planet gives us the entire attitude of the show in seven words.

‘Course, if you want a whole rat’s nest of clichés, go no further than soap operas.

Evil twins. Amnesia. The big bad diva.

Watch how this Canadian channel sums up a lifetime in one name.

This next spot comes from MTV Asia. It works as a pun. Puns, incidentally, are the evil twin of clichés. For me, MTV pulls it off. What do you think?

The ending is blunt and clear and, even better, speaks the language of the audience.

What’s your best technique for fresh writing?


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