Hype is so 1990s

Shutterstock_36443764 One of the marketing trends that has been emerging for the past several years is the idea of authenticity.  Consumers want to have real conversations, not be “sold” by over zealous ad copy. 

The over the top style of copy triggers today’s consumers to be on guard.  They feel manipulated, which, as you might imagine, does not lead to a spending frenzy. Need to check the hype level of your marketing pieces?  Watch for these dead giveaways.

Over-promising:  On the extreme side, these are the “I make $10,000 a month and only work 2 hours a day” ads that are prevalent today.  But anytime you take an extreme result and position it as the norm, you are guilt of hype.

Big and BOLD!:  If you’re using lots of all capped words or putting an exclamation point at the end of every other sentence, you might be working TOO HARD at making your point.  You are also guilty of hype.

Two other variations of the Big and BOLD hype are the underlining all the important words, until practically every word is underlined or the colored text techniques.  Both qualify as hype.

Exaggerations and hyperbole:  If I tell you I’m having the most incredible sale ever on this planet you know its hype.  But that doesn’t stop many retailers from having “the biggest sale of the season with prices that cannot be beat!”  Smaller scale, but same kind of hype.

It’s easy to dismiss these tactics as what “those” other businesses do, but if you take the time to look at your own printed pieces, website, and ads you may to be surprised.  Hype has a way of creeping into your marketing materials.  It’s time to clean house and get with the times!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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15 comments on “Hype is so 1990s

  1. Gavin Heaton says:

    I sometimes find myself rolling a smooth marketing line off the end of my tongue (or keyboard). The interesting thing is, that when I read it back later, it stands out from the rest. It seems that this is a real challenge for us to unlearn practices which we have been using for years.

  2. David Libby says:

    Your blog post caught my eye – due to your headline. I think some businesses only operated under hype for years (ie. clothing manufacturers, car companies, etc.) There seemed to be no way around it. Yet, in today’s social media environment, there is no way not to avoid it. The best way to get current with today’s marketing / PR practices is to speak to your new audiences and find out what influences them, what they want to hear, and how they want to be talked to, and with. Otherwise, you’re just another bullhorn. Thank for writing this blog post. It’s another one sitting on my shelf (from a PR POV) that I’ve been meaning to pen myself.

  3. Agreed on all counts. I do think excitement can be built into a company’s promotions and communications with customers but it needs to be done by the strength of the offering and not because a word is put into bold letters or that its been touted as “THE BEST THING EVER!”

  4. Duff says:

    Wonderful! This point cannot be made enough.

    Indeed, the old hypers have also begun co-opting authenticity in new, even-more hyped up fake-authentic marketing campaigns. See my blog post on Tony Robbins and “the new scammy masters” for my perspective on the matter: http://beyondgrowth.net/guru-criticism/warning-motivational-speaker-tony-robbins-is-launching-new-get-rich-quick-internet-scam/

  5. Karin H. says:

    “But that doesn’t stop many retailers from having “the biggest sale of the season with prices that cannot be beat!” ”

    The ‘new’ trend now is to repeat your biggest sale of the season every other week! (Or at least that is what two furniture retailers in the UK are constantly doing).

    How believable does that make your business to your prospects/clients?

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  6. I’ve always found American adverts / marketing to be way more in your face and hyped up, than British advertising – us Brits seem to like things presented subtly – whereas american TV commercials seem to portray items as an “investment”, with large flashing fonts and phone numbers, our adverts often have no contact details, and are more about product/brand awareness, rather than direct sales – not sure which is the most effective, guess it’s a different cultures thing.

  7. Gavin,

    So true…we have a lot to unlearn! I believe this is what they call teaching an old dog a new trick!


  8. David,

    Do you think the industries that you mentioned that have survived on hype for years did so because they were selling a commodity?

    If so…in this new age, what will they do now that hype is passe?


  9. Kevin,

    And not only will there be caps…but every other word will be underlined as well!


  10. Duff,

    Say it ain’t so! So now we have old hype in new sheep’s clothing?


  11. Karin,

    Here in the states too. A bigger sale every day. You have to think a business’ credibility is on pretty shaky ground after a few months of that sort of consistency!


  12. Tech (as I like to call you),

    Interesting that the US spots are more blatant, considering how prudish our programming etc. is compared to yours.

    Well, hopefully we are learning from you and toning it down. I’m not so sure I think that’s happening though. Seems to me that I still see all the phone numbers, web addresses and now Twitter names!


  13. Contactology says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Especially applicable to email marketing!

  14. Nigel Dean says:

    Hi Drew, your post makes some great points and reminds us all that hype can start to creep in to all our copy – especially online.

    Check out this extreme example http://www.andrews-bentley.com/fast-track-training/ – who the hell would read that and why don’t I believe any of it?


  15. That makes a lot of sense. Good tips to look out for.

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