Sunday, July 26, 2009

They're baa-aaack: hack headlines produce unique, win-win scenarios!

Got headlines?

If you just groaned, you deserve a raise: that's a hack headline!

The Denver Egotist ("Helping Denver suck less daily") includes this headline in its list of 10 that an experienced ad-agency creative with team-leadership experience "should be shot" for using.

It's a great list, which includes such favorites as no headline, "size matters," "start your engines," and "think again."

There are a few I'd like to add to the list. Anyone who has taken the advertising class at Red River College with me knows that an electric pulse goes up my spine and explodes in my head any time someone uses "unique," "win-win scenario," or "they're baaa-aaack" in a headline.

There's no better way to prove you're the hackiest of hacks than by using any one of these, or better yet, all three in a headline, which is why clients always expect to see them: they don't know any better, and - ahem - "first idea equals worst idea."

As a trained ad writer, these should never ever never cross your mind, even when you're so desperate for creative that you're sucking your thumb and curled up in the fetal position under your desk. Which, by the way, sounds like a pretty great thing to get paid to do.

Some other classics to avoid, as written in the article talkbacks: "seriously funny," "experience (blank)," "can you say (blank)?," and "(blank) 2.0."

And now, I must uncurl myself from the fetal position, remove my thumb from my mouth, and get back to work. Hey: great headline!

Thanks to Britt for the link.


  1. That was a truly great list! And a hilarious delivery also. You should use that as a teaching aid next year, Kenton.

    A couple other gag-worthy techniques:

    Insurance= good hands/caring
    Chris Rock sums up insurance best: "In case shit happens..."

    Colleges/Universities= Anything to do with the bright futures and limitless possibilities.
    Would it turn kids away if they told them school was their ticket to the bottom rung of the corporate ladder? Everybody has to start at the bottom and work their way up.

  2. I love that Chris Rock bit...solid gold!

    "Bright futures" - yep, colleges need to sell something else. Like, "Tims on campus!"


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.