Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Marketing 101: The "Qualifier" No-No

I am revising a company's website copy - repositioning them in the market - and I keep running into qualifiers. Qualifiers are those words or phrases that kneecap a success by making it "not-so-great."

"It's the best show featuring a monkey."

"It's the direct-to-video hit comedy."

Notice how in both those statements the phrases take "the win" down a peg? You don't ever want to do that. Ever.

Because people are out there who are going to (try and) take you down a peg anyway.
Why help them out?

When you're pitching, remove the qualifiers...
[It's this little movie we did...]
When you're writing, remove the qualifiers...
[He kind of loves her...]
When you're designing your key art, remove the qualifiers...
[If I see another grey, formless piece of crap key art I'm gonna kill the slowest of the bunch of ya]

Because when you apply qualifiers to your work it says you don't believe in your work, it says that it's half-ass work and it says you're half-ass. NOT to be taken seriously.

Life's too short to be half-assed. Especially in this business.


Unknown said...

Qualifiers in key art? I'm intrigued by this idea.

But sometimes "qualifier" is in the eye of the beholder, right? What if I like shows with monkeys? Then that's helping inform my decision.

What about "Best science-fiction show on TV" vs. "Best show on TV?" Sure the latter is stronger praise, but the former is more specific praise.

Cunningham said...

Qualifiers in key art:

- making the key art as grey as possible... so that you step away the box looks like a solid mass of grey instead of a distinct image.

- using many small images instead of one clear central image.

- "Make it look indie" (Yes, I've been directed with those words) instead of "make it look interesting."

I would point you to the current key art for the internet 2 DVD series THE GUILD. It says NOTHING about the humor and richness of the characters and their world.