The burger that sounded like a conservatory 3 September 2015

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Please excuse the quality of the picture above. It was snapped at high speed somewhere in Nottingham because I didn’t want to miss it. That wasn’t because I was feeling hungry and needed to take note of the nearest burger place. I just had to grab an image of the idea of advertising a custom-built burger.

Too much seasoning

To me, this is a statement about what happens when companies use complex language to show their expertise. And how wrong it can be. Even as a freelance copywriter, I accept that some jargon in some contexts is unavoidable. But, when a fun concept is communicated in heavy language like this, it creates a kind of distance. I can see why the company chose these words. Custom built does suggest something which has been carefully crafted – if you’re talking about a car or a conservatory. The intention is right, but the tone of voice just doesn’t fit.

Who’s for a bespoke sandwich?

This reminds me of the โ€˜bespokeโ€™ sandwiches I noticed in Nottingham city centre last year. This kind of jargon tends to confuse rather than convey the message – the first step in pushing your audience away. Ultimately it means that people end up being more aware of the language you’re using than anything else. Of course it could be that I’m just a hungry freelance copywriter. But I think there is pattern of companies working very hard to demonstrate their know-how through over-complicated language.

Perhaps an ambient sausage roll?

It’s curious that this isn’t the first food/hospitality sign that I’ve snapped for reasons of jargon abuse. I can’t help noticing how over-dressed copy bamboozles rather than interests people. After all, less is indeed more. That’s what The Plain English Campaign thought when they drew attention to the ambient sausage roll... People notice if the language doesn’t fit, whether you’re talking about a conservatory, an accountant or an app (all businesses I’ve written for). That’s why an effective copywriting approach is so important. And why using jargon isn’t the best way to get people salivating over your products or services.

By Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, Nottingham, September 2013

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