Find more of my work at


Receive notifications when this site is updated:

Subscribe by e‑mail.

Subscribe by RSS.

List of categories

“The Language of Marketing”

A client raised my hackles recently by asking me to redesign a brochure with “more of a marketing appeal.” She presented an example—a mockup of a brochure cover with a huge photo that had nothing to do with the content and a few sparse blocks of words conveying little real information. The meager text referred to “all new world-class courses” that would offer “everything you need” to meet deadlines and budgets and would give you business analysis skills to “ensure flawless execution.” It sounded like unsustainable hyperbole to me—empty, meaningless phrases—but the client’s reaction to the piece was, “This is what I mean about a fresh sexy look. If you read each category you see the language of marketing coming through.”

My reply: “Maybe you need to look for a designer and/or writer who believes that the ‘language of marketing’ is a good thing.”

A week or two later, I received the following letter from Wells Fargo offering to lend me the spectacular sum of $1,076.55 at an enticing interest rate of 19.99 percent.

The language of marketing
> Click on the image to see a larger version. <

When I read the first paragraph of the letter, my first thought was, “Behold the language of marketing!” Is this the kind of thing my client wanted? Using ridiculous hyperbole to persuade someone to buy something he doesn’t want or need on terms that are completely at odds with his own best interests?

Editor’s note: A follow-up to this posting—last week, I received another copy of the same letter from Wells Fargo. I was surprised to see that the new copy didn’t say, “This may be the second-most-important piece of mail you will ever receive, next to the one we sent you before.”

© 2007 Edward F. Gumnick

2 comments to “The Language of Marketing”

  • toney

    I thought that was the point of marketing. What do most of us need in the U.S. today. Nothing, we have food, clothing and bath soap. All of these needs can be supplied to us by going into the local Wal-Mart on each corner. So thats my take on it. Most need to be lured out of the daze that prosperity and pay later attitude has give us. Never thinking about the day the world changes and what will be left with. sorry I am not a writer or a speller but I did enjoy your thought.


  • efg

    Thanks, Toney. I appreciate the feedback!

    I guess it’s up to everyone who can see beyond the daze of prosperity to think and talk about “the day the world changes”—and to try to work toward change for the better.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting