Don’t subject your copy to the Bo-Rap Paradox

Bohemian Rhapsody.

Some say it’s the best song ever. While others…
…actually no, we can all agree – it’s the best song ever!

I remember when it first came out in ’75. How it stood apart from the spangly glam rock (and novelty acts like The Wombles). Twas nothing short of “splendid”.

And yet…THE CRITICS HATED IT!! Said it was overblown and up itself. And now the movie’s out, they’ve dissed that too.

Again – the people love it, the critics don’t. This is the Bo-Rap Paradox.

So look, my mantra today – no, all this week – is:


Trust me, I worked as one for years. They follow an unwritten rule –

“Find fault wherever you can, and invent flaws if you have to…because slagging off gets you more impact than gushing with praise.”

That’s how it is. These hacks’ll invent an opinion, just to grab attention. And it’ll be negative, unless they think the in-crowd will lean the other way.

Copy gets the same treatment, you know.

True. It’s plagued by “critics” getting in the way, with no feel for public opinion. Only those critics ain’t journos – they’re people in your office.

I’ll explain…

Hire a copywriter, and the worst thing you can do is pass their copy round for review. Or dissect it in a team meeting. Because all you’ll get is opinion. (Which is…? Yep – worthless!)

Try it. Take any bit of copy (what the hell, take this post) and show it to Susie or Bob in Accounts. I guarantee, they’ll do just like the critics: slag it off because they think it reflects well on them.

(“Ooh Susie didn’t like it, she must be ever so wise”)

And that’s no use to you, is it?

I mean, sure. There are (very rare) occasions when round-the-office feedback gets you a genuine viewpoint. When someone who can identify with your target market takes off their analytical hat and reads the copy in the same impulsive, emotional way they would if they saw it for real.

That happens, now and then. (-ish.)

BUT even then – it’s no use to you. Because it’s only one person’s take – you don’t get the “wisdom of crowds”.

See the problem? You’ll only get usable feedback when you bite the bullet and throw the copy out to the market. Let the buyers decide, then keep testing and improving.

Then suddenly, everything changes!

No more false objections like “Jack doesn’t like the headline” or “the chairman’s wife thinks it should be shorter”. Just real results you can act on.

Sounds good, huh? So let’s do that.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen the Bo-Rap movie yet…
…ignore the critics…go see it tonight…and make up your own mind.

(It is AWESOME!!)

Meet the Author

James Daniel

You might not know who James is...but you've probably read his copy. Through high street clients like Hidden Hearing, or big gun marketers like Jonathan Jay and Chris Cardell. His words are out there, pulling in new business every month. What else? Well his books, Do You Talk Like That at Home? and Direct Mail 101 will help you squeeze out more sales. Oh yeah - and his next book Before You JFDI will help you plan your next campaign. Get on the list for a free advance copy here.

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