Weasel Words: Half-Hearted Claims
Watching TV with my five-year-old daughter last night, we saw an ad for Yoplait yogurt. It's the one with the cynical bridesmaids. Perhaps you've seen it. The spot opens with two bridesmaids, relaxing and grubbing down on some yogurt after the wedding.
"This yogurt is not-catching-the-bridal-bouquet good."
"It's burning this ugly bridesmaid dress good."
It's getting out of these uncomfortable shoes good."
And so it goes. Not the best I've seen. Not the worst, by any means. At the end, it goes to a white screen with text and narration: "Yoplait may improve digestion."
Immediately, my daughter says, "Daddy that was stupid. They should know whether it improves digestion or not. That's their job to figure that out. Why would they say, 'may improve'?"
Good catch, Chloe! She identified a half-hearted claim. Her ear caught the weasel words. Children do not accept weasel words. Why do we, as adults, let them slide by in our world of communications?
Marketing geniuses know to avoid weasel words, such as might, may, can, if and perhaps; focus instead on certain terms. Say what your product or service will do, not what it might.
PS - Check your proposals and sales literature, also, for weasel words.