Forget benefits and storytelling - is this copywriting's true 'golden rule'?


09 Sep

I've never really got on with TuneIn.

I don't demand bells and whistles with my websites but this hub for global radio stations always looks a bit '2005' and -- in my experience -- frequently has the clunkiness to match.

Nor did it build any bridges with its latest email update.

"Our live [American] college football coverage is now on TuneIn Premium to better serve sports fans like you, all in one place."

To better serve sports fans like me.

Nothing to do with better serving TuneIn's bottom line, then? 

Maybe the 'pay' in 'paywall' is just a big old red herring.

And then, while I'm still squinting cynically at that one with my head to one side, an even shinier gem comes into view.

A financial publishing house is mourning an old boy who had long been a regular contributor of betting systems to one of the company's newsletters.

The gentleman died last year and the publishing firm "decided to do something special."

Go on...

It came up with what it calls the greatest way to honour his legacy.

Honour his legacy. Right...

It is selling a compilation of all his gambling wisdom in a single volume. Yours for £247.

Never has the phrase "spinning in his grave" been more pertinent, I fancy. But let's give the company concerned the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's enhancing legacies as well as honouring them, by ensuring that a sizeable wedge from the book's proceeds goes to the deceased's family.

Look, business people; for better or worse, most of us are worldly capitalists. We know you have wages to pay and shareholders to appease, so we aren't about to swoon when you come up with new ways to make bank.

Just don't try and spin it, please.

Taking money from our pockets via a paywall, as justifiable as it may be, does not 'serve us' and when someone in the office comes up with a brilliant wheeze for matching a £247 product with a plausible market, we all know that 'honouring someone's legacy' is not what's driving the high-fives in your marketing department.

So when you're putting your advertising copy together, maybe there's something that comes before all the usual priorities.

Before selling benefits over features; before storytelling, even before a killer headline and irresistible bullets.

Do not insult our intelligence.

We've had a bellyful of that from politicians. We're damned if we're taking it from businesses too. That ad you lavished countless man-hours on is dead before it's barely drawn breath.

You won't be seeing one cent of my money, TuneIn.

And somewhere out there in the vast blue yonder, floats the soul of a dead gambler, whose legacy I shall honour with a simple minute's silence. 

Because time isn't always money. 

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