Total Carp

As one who continually wishes to replace the missing letter I in TO LET signs, I find the festive season particularly exasperating from a copywriter’s perspective.

I reckon every year for the past three decades at least one blue-chip company has placed an ad in The Grocer with the headline Christmas Presence.  (A survey once showed that the majority of readers took this ‘literally’, even when they noticed the apparent misspelling.)

Another old chestnut is Season’s Eatings – turned into a cliché by a bevy of food and confectionery brands.

Failing that, it’ll be Get Your Stockin – surely penned in-house, and without which no Christmas trade campaign would be complete.

Then there’s the ubiquitous offer, the Christmas Cracker – I even got one of these dreaded little ditties from Hertz while writing this post.

Our brain opts for simple explanations. If it sees something it vaguely recognises, it makes its mind up there and then. It doesn’t waste grey cells trying to figure out clever meanings.

John Caples, the pioneer of  Scientific Advertising, determined that, for every ‘curiosity’ headline that works, a dozen will fail.

Oh – and, yes – on a loosely related note, there is an angling magazine called Total Carp. (Though it can’t be easy to advertise.)