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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

How NOT to write copy. This writer swallowed the wrong dictionary - then vomited all over the page.

In my talks about copy I always suggest three pretty steadfast rules:

1, What you offer matters far more than what you say.

2. What you say matters far more than how you say it.

2. The headline matters far more than any other part of the copy.

What perhaps I fail to stress enough is that it helps if you can write English - and if you write badly enough you can unsell something

I was quite taken by the offer from Groupon this morning headed Overnight Break For Two in the Forest of Dean With Breakfast and Cream Tea for £63 at The Speech House Hotel (Up to 60% Off).

We don't live that far away from the hotel and the picture looked OK. What's more I'm as cheap as chips and a pig for cream tea.

But then, oh dear! the copy went into semi-literate orbit, in some weird copywriter's baroque - as follows:

While they make a lovely country getaway, some thickly wooded areas can be unexplainably prejudiced against numbers, earning them a reputation for being fourist. Stay indiscriminate with today’s Groupon: £63 for an overnight break in the Forest of Dean for two, including breakfast and a cream tea each at the Speech House Hotel.

I think "fourist" gets the Golden Turd Award, don't you? But there was more: a picture of the hotel, followed by:

Cuddled by a 27,000 acre forested duvet, The Speech House Hotel is a 17th century hunting lodge that oozes rustic charm fused with all the desirable facilities required to appease contemporary travellers. The auberge is well placed to offer an array of outdoorsy activities designed to leave guests well prepped for comfy beds and a view of Gloucestershire’s foliage. With food options including two restaurants and the casual orangery, the massive house treats wilderness wanderers to 21st century mini-breaking.

Will somebody please shoot that writer before he or she does any more damage?

Or, to quote W. S. Churchill: "Use simple words everyone knows, then everyone will understand."

Do you want to be cuddled by a forest? Do you yearn to be indiscriminate? Come to think of it, I wonder if whoever wrote that is a native English speaker. Hard to believe, isn't it? It reads as though written by someone from Transylvania.

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