Cliche of the Titans

December 18, 2013 at 9:45 am | Posted in copywriting, Uncategorized | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
A fight to the death.

A fight to the death.

One of my clients makes high-end breakfast products.

So when she wrote on her labels that breakfast was:

the most important meal of the day,

she knew it.

And meant it.

But this didn’t stop me challenging her.

You see, every person and their pet know and use this time-worn truism.

So I suggested we change it to:

the day’s most vital meal.

My client then had the temerity to suggest she preferred important to vital!

And so I mounted my defence:

  1. Vital is shorter than important.
  2. Vital packs more punch.
  3. By ditching most important meal of the day for day’s most vital meal,  we kill the cliché and own the concept.
  4. This switches the passive voice to active.
  5. It also gives superior cadence.
  6. Finally, vital stems from the Latin word for life/living (which is much in sync with a food brand).

So, do you still want important?!

My client replied:

‘You win a million times on this one. Thank you!’

Gracious, intelligent, enlightened and humble clients like this keep me copywriting.

And make me strain every nerve to advance their prosperity.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


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  1. Exactly so, Paul.

    Cliches tell us nothing. So expressing the concept in a different or interesting way brings vitality.

    One by one, we’ll whittle them away.

    • Fabulous to hear you say so, Desolie! I think you know how highly I regard your expert view. Here’s to a world with 15% less crud but no loss of relevant content. With kind regards and many thanks for your input, P. 🙂

  2. Every industry has its own jargon and cliches. They are like empty carbs, we consume them for no additional value. Often we assume that we have the same meaning for the cliche in our heads that clients do. By challenging and refreshing cliches, we include more people, create interest as they explore their own meaning for the concept (rather than relying on the old shaggy version dragged out of memory, and have the opportunity to add new meaning.

    A quality challenge is as valuable as a vital breakfast!

    Thanks Paul, a great reminder…

    • Thanks heaps, Phil. And sorry it took me a while to process your comment; I’ve been away from my desk. I always appreciate your thoughts and this is no exception. Kind regards, as always. P. 🙂

  3. Hi Paul, Great to see you back blogging, I’ve missed your musings. Great story!

    • Thanks a lot, M! The feeling is mutual. It’s great to have you back too! 🙂

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