ImageDon't be jivey. It's the flipside of our "be authentic" credo. Yes, we're in marketing; yes, we're in advertising, but that doesn't mean we have to behave like used-car salesmen. Treating prospective clients like carnival marks – suckers born every minute – may result in quick sales, but it won't establish the enriching, enduring relationships that are the lifeblood of your business.

You see the jive talk all over the Internet, and not just in spam subject lines hawking male enhancement; even some of our copywriting brethren fancy themselves sideshow barkers. Here's a very special example we found without even trying, and believe us, it's not an isolated case:

"Little Known, Under The Radar Copywriting Short Cuts and Hidden Persuasion Principles REVEALED ... Any One Of These 'Win-Smart' Secrets Could Easily Make You $20,000 ... $50,000 ... Even $100,000 Richer, This Year Alone! ... But wait a minute ... Be one of the first to hop on board with this brand new edition, and I'll spot you the first $50. So instead of you paying the already low regular price of just $197, you walk away with everything we've talked about for the incredibly low investment of just $147! And that's not all ... Grab Your Copy Today And Get These 8 Big Extras Worth A Very Real $678!

This specimen is instructive because it bears several hallmarks of marketing jive:

  • Exclamation points, which, in our humble opinion, are almost never necessary and should be avoided.
  • Numbers, as in "These 8 Big Extras"; also see, "5 Little Words That Can Make You Very Wealthy," "10 Powerful Secrets for Writing Successful Web Site Copy" and "5 Priceless Secrets To Explode Your Article Writing."
  • Dollar values, AS IF you could assign monetary value to copywriting expertise.
  • Textual errors and clumsy language, as in this delicious salutation: "Dear Marketing Opportunist." Of course you know that "opportunist" is a pejorative term, akin to "ambulance chaser," and not, as these self-declared authorities on language imply, simply someone seeking opportunity. Makes one wonder who the marketing opportunist is.
  • The assurance that if you act now, you'll get something extra.
  • The intimation that it's all a big secret, one that can be revealed for a mere $199.99.
Which isn't to say that this approach doesn't earn results. I'm sure the authors of the above are raking it in, as are the producers of the infomercials for Rejuvenique (a plastic mask connected to a 9-volt battery) and the Almighty Cleanse (you don't want to know). Furthermore, there's no disputing that Ron Popeil (Chop-o-Matic, Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone and, our favorite, GLH-9 hair-in-a-can spray) is a very rich man. Perhaps when you have products to move in great quantities – especially products cheap enough to qualify as impulse purchases – jive talk is the way to go.

ImageBut when you're providing a service, we feel it's prudent to take the longer view. Perhaps we here at Editorial Emergency should also package up and push a so-called informational product, something with a catchy title like "THE 39 SURREPTITIOUS STEPS TO COPY THAT SETS OFF SALES BOMBS AND MAKES YOU STINKIN' RICH!!!" But after you buy that, then what?

For us, it's not just a matter of making sales; it's a matter of making lasting connections. And establishing a brand that offers genuine value. And treating potential clients with respect. And sleeping at night.

That said, we did buy a Chop Wizard after seeing it advertised on TV and have been quite satisfied with it (though the chopping action is deafening). How about you? Have you ever responded to the kind of sales pitch we've described above, and if so, how did it work out? Maybe you think we're self-serving haters who fear we'll be out of business if our clients unearth The Secrets. Maybe you think we're just copy snobs. Inquiring minds want to know: e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .'; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text48468 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it