Sofia, my grandma, the woman who raised me, died when I was 19.
She passed away in the intensive-care wing of a hospital, lying on a mechanical bed in a sterile room behind an automatic sliding glass door. The day she left, I was there with my mom and dad and the breathing tubes.
My grandma was a shell of herself.
Those last moments with her were the most painful of my life. I remember feeling such absolute sadness, such grief.
I also remember thinking, I’d do anything to make her better.
And that’s what makes this ad, which I see plastered all over Chicago, so fucking disgusting:
I hate the “copywriter” behind this “ad.”
Because he’s a charlatan, a quack who exploits the desperate.
Seth Godin puts it a different way:
“Crafting a story that tricks people into making short-term decisions that they regret in the long run is the worst kind of marketing sin. Refusing to take responsibility for it afterward is just cowardice.
Just because you want to make more money is no justification for using the power of lying to hurt the rest of us.”
As a copywriter, your power stems from the potential of your claim, the promise your words make to the prospect.
You could be promising more sales leads or less hair loss or whiter teeth. Or you could be promising something truly profound, like more time after a cancer diagnosis, which is a beautiful and necessary claim IF you can back it up.
IF NOT, then it's a dangerous and irresponsible claim, and you shouldn't make it lest you hurt someone.
Seth Godin again:
“Nuclear weapons have killed a tiny fraction of the number of people that unethical marketing has. It’s time we realized that there may be no more powerful weapon on Earth.”
Be a copywriter, not a coward.
If you can back up your claim, write the copy.
If you can’t, be a professional and do the right thing.
LEARN TO PERSUADE