Not so long ago, THE DEFINITIVE go to magic marketing word was “free”. Whether it was a free sample, a free trial or a free issue, free was a great word to use to capture attention.
Those were the days when marketing messages were only being created by “professionals”. Then came the internet, where anyone with a connection to the internet could become a “marketing professional”.
Now, the bar is higher. Giving away something for free isn’t good enough anymore.
PR (as in the public relations field) professionals have never had the option of getting attention by using the word “free”. Instead, PR Professionals have always had to look to other words to get attention. According to an article in the NY Times, Need Press? Repeat: ‘Green,’ ‘Sex,’ ‘Cancer,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘Fat’ those attention getting words are shifting.
In a world that gets more connected (and therefore smaller) every day, the words that attract attention tend to be either very topical or are words that denote that a topic is either scarce or cutting edge.
The word green is the latest buzz word because of the recent US energy “crisis”. (I adore the recent BMW ad that says, “Where we’re from, high gas prices are nothing new.” ) It’s “anti” words like toxic and poisonous will also grab attention.
The word sex has been an effective attention getter since cave men were drawing on walls as well as any word to do with money such as rich and wealth. Debt is a powerful anti money word.
Words like secret, buzz and breaking seem to work these days, as do the anti words cure and trick.
Another buzz word… fat the ultimate public enemy in a society obsessed with appearances. Fat is really an anti word but recent events have turned the tables on the word thin which has been taken to the extreme.
Now, the REAL art in composing marketing messages is to use those words without coming across like some sleazy used car salesman!