Nearly More Than
Yes, I still read ad copy. Some of it is quite good. Some ... not so good.
"Over the past two years, we have helped nearly 30 clients increase ..."
"Our staff has more than 45 years of combined experience."
With respect to Exhibit A--nearly 30--is that a great number, or is it minuscule? By stretching with hyperbole to "nearly 30," it connotes a notion of inferiority. In effect, the organization is saying, "Well, we're kind of new and inexperienced. We wish we had served many more clients. But hey--30 is not so bad for a newcomer, right?" What if the copy simply said, "We have helped many clients... "?
And with respect to the other example--more than 45 years--is that relevant? Is that a sufficient base of experience? Did they consider, "Not quite 50 years?" Does the combined experience consist of one old dude with 42 years experience working with three newbies with one year apiece? And if so, how does that matter? To me, what the folks in Exhibit B are saying is, "We don't really know what you want or need, because we haven't conducted any research. Plus, we don't understand our unique selling proposition ... so we'll just add this random fact to fill up space." What if the copy simply said, "Our experienced staff ... "? What if it showed a photo of an experienced, friendly team member with a small copy block about that person's relevant experience?
Dear advertisers (and copy writers): I nearly became interested in your product, until I encountered a more than tolerable dose of hyperbole in your advertisement.