Skip to content

The Five Words to Never Use in an Ad

images-3In his fascinating article Steve Mckee describes how the following five words Quality, Value, Service, Caring and Integrity should never be used in an advertisement about your business and why.

This reminded me of a small group coaching session by Jennie Bayliss of Red Dandelion  She asked us to visualise our business as a vehicle.  As she went round the room asking for feedback; the answers were all the same (brand name excepting).  The vehicles were all top of the range, quality motors.  Why? Because they were top notch quality yet good value for money, great service, with excellent after sales care etc etc you get the picture? There was one exception.  This delegate described her vehicle as a bus.

Woah!  Attention grabbing moment!

“My business is one that people can get on and off at whatever point in their business development journey they like.  Every bus has a destination; the one that I am driving might not be going in the direction you want to be heading in right now.  So like any good bus driver, I can tell you the number of the bus that you do want to take.

The great thing about my bus is that it is on one of the most popular routes.  So there are plenty of like minded business people taking the journey together with me.  However, if you do get on my bus by mistake you can quite easily jump off at the first stop and get on another which is heading to a more appropriate direction.”

The message is clear; when you are promoting your business, think about the words you are using, as the ones you do use need to differentiate you from the crowd.

What messages is this lady giving about her business?

And finally, I just had to find something appropriate and here it is from you tube for this week!



  1. Love it..this is SO to the point.
    The distinction made here grabs everyones attention because it IS so different.
    I have made several public speaking presentations locally and have used this example in my talks, although the names have often been changed to protect the innocent.
    I know that Laura differentiates herself in her business role, and she does so by understanding what it is about herself and her offering that IS different.
    Loved the youtube link as fact..thats becoming a regular feature of your could even say that this in itself is a way you are differentiating yourself in your blog
    Love it Laura!!


  2. Yep, I agree with this. I also came across something new last week which I’d like to share. It’s similar to the AIDA thinggyyy we know but I think it has more impact.


    This is a huge subject but just let me explain what they stand for and in keeping with the theme of the thread I’ll keep my comments confined to the first one.

    The formula stands for Interrupt, Engage, Educate and then Offer and you get results.

    The thinking is that you should apply this to all of your marketing materials, letters, ads, web site, you name it.

    With AIDA, the A stands for ATTENTION but I quite like the word INTERRUPT, it’s more powerful. You really do have to make an impact if you are going to get someone to engage with you. You are interrupting people out of their cosy thought process so they sit up and take notice. And you’ve got to do this when everyone all around you is trying to do the same thing. If we are all saying the same thing, trotting out the same clichés, will we interrupt? I think the answer is no. Here’s a good analogy.

    Imagine you are watching someone on a train reading a newspaper. Their eyes are darting around the page and you then see them stop and start reading an article. That’s the kind of effect you want to get by interrupting peoples thought process.
    I guess that is what Benetton’s adverts, FCUK and FAT Willy have tried to do.

    The next part of the formula is to ENGAGE but that’s a story for another time.


  3. Yes, I agree.
    Laura is really good at getting people out of their comfort’s something of a speciality of hers.
    I really liked your analogy too Russell, very powerful.
    So what will you do to get Laura out of her zones?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: