Being boring

As copywriters, we spend our working lives toiling to be clearer, to be snappier, and to be more engaging. But sometimes the opposite is needed, and we have to write copy that’s as dull as ditch water – and possibly as unclear.

It’s not something I have to do often, but occasionally it’s required. For example, if you need to include lots of terms and conditions in a brochure, you probably don’t want them to distract readers away from your key messages. Design and typography can help, but sometimes just making the words unappealing can mean they don’t jump out at your audience on their first look.

You can see this happening in politics all the time, where answers to tough questions are deliberately unclear, long-winded and tedious. Particularly on radio or TV, the interviewer will be so desperate to keep their audience interested, they won’t follow up and demand clarification, but will move on to another question.

I’m not suggesting marketing copywriters use that kind of tactic, but it’s certainly interesting to observe how others do it.

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