B2B/B2C Copywriter and Marketing Consultant


Savvy Marketing

Fine Writing is Offensive

That’s not my line – John E. Powers coined it.

Many consider Powers one of the great American copywriters, whose creative style is still used in ad campaigns today.

What he meant was that fancy words have no place in advertising. In the same way that fancy words were once offensive to many, issues we don’t agree with have today become ammunition for branding and advertising.

Take Gillette’s recent ad spot, aimed at toxic masculinity, which has brought plenty of backlash.

Many are questioning whether this is truly Gillette’s brand position, if they really mean what they say, and more importantly, if it will affect their sales.

No doubt this is a polarizing issue, but that’s not what this write up is about.

Here’s my point.

Lately we’re all so quick to be offended, we often fail to stop and analyze a piece of work for its message and deeper impact. 

For the sheer fact that it starts a conversation, simply because a conversation needs to start.

Whether we agree with the Gillette ad or not – it accomplished it’s goal.

Let’s go back to our friend Powers.

Powers himself wrote ads for Lord & Taylor targeting the “working man” and only dealt with people he considered trustworthy – a great reminder to us all that if we don’t trust someone, or a brand for that matter, we don’t have to buy from them.